Skip to main content

Full text of "The figurative tradition and the Whitney Museum of American Art."

See other formats

The Figurative Tradition 

Whitney Museum of American Art 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2013 

The Figurative Tradition 

and the 

Whitney Museum of American Art 

Paintings and Sculpture 

from the Permanent Collection 

The Figurative Tradition 

and the 
Whitney Museum of American Art 

Paintings and Sculpture 
from the Permanent Collection 

Patricia Hills and Roberta K. Tarbell 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 

in associatio)i with 

Newark: University of Delaware Press London and Toronto: Associated University Presses 

This book was published in conjunction with an exhibition 
at the Whitney Museum of American Art, June is- 
September 18, 1980, supported by a grant from Manufac- 
turers Hanover Trust Company. The publication was or- 
ganized at the Whitney Museum by Doris Palca, Head, 
Publications and Sales, James Leggio, Copyeditor, Anita 
Duquette, Rights and Reproductions, and Anne Munroe, 

Tom Hudspeth, Research Assistant, served as exhibition 
assistant to the curators. 

Copyright © 1980 by the Whitney Museum of American 
Art, 945 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10021 

Published in a hard-cover edition bv 

Associated University Presses 
Cranbury, New Jersey 08512 

Associated University Presses 
Toronto M5E 1A7, Canada 

Associated University Presses Ltd. 
Magdalen House 
136-148 Toolery Street 
London SEi, 2TT, England 


Whitney Museum of American Art. 

The figurative tradition and the Whitney Museum of 
American Art. 

Bibliography: p. 183 

1. Figurative art — United States — Exhibitions. 

2. Art, Modern — 20th century — United States — Exhibitions. 

3. Whitney Museum of American Art — Exhibitions. 
i. Hills, Patricia. II. Tarbell, Roberta K. 

III. Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company. IV. Title. 
N6512.5.F5W46 1980 709'.73'o740i47i 80-12650 

isbn 0-87427-029-4 
iSBNO-87413-184-7 (hard cover) 

Photographs are by Geoffrey Clements with the following 

The Baltimore Museum of Art, Fig. 144; Peter A. Juley and 
Son Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C, 
Figs. 79, 85; The New Britain Museum of American Art, 
New Britain, Connecticut, Fig. 10; Percy Rainford, Figs. 31, 
52, 62, 72, 101; Steven Sloman Fine Arts Photography, Fig. 
160; Jerry Thompson, Figs. 78, 88, Pis. 13, 14, 15, 31, 32; 
John Waggaman, Figs. 16, 17, 69. 

front cover: 

Duane Hanson, Woman and Dog, 1977 (PI. 30). 

back cover: 

Leon Kroll, Nude in a Blue Chair, 1930 (PI. 5). 


Robert Henri, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 1916 (PI. 2). 

Designer: Katy Homans 

Typesetter: Trufont Typographers, Inc. 

Printer: Eastern Press, Inc. 


Foreword 7 


Preface and Acknowledgments 8 

I Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney as Patron 10 


Color Plates 23 

II Painting, 1900- 1940 5! 


III Sculpture, 1900- 1940 90 


IV Painting, 194 1 - 1980 108 


V Sculpture, 194 1 - 1980 [52 


Notes 171 

Selected Bibliography 1 8 5 

Sponsor's Message 

Speaking for all of my colleagues at Manufacturers 
Hanover, it is a pleasure for us once again to be 
supporting a program at the Whitney Museum, this 
time as it shares the richness of twentieth-century 
American figurative art with the viewing public. This 
exhibition is a particularly appropriate subject for our 
sponsorship, for indeed the paintings and sculpture 
represented are a celebration of America, a sounding of 
the nation's unique tempo and temperament and the 
vast diversity of its people. Our hope is that friends from 
all walks of life will find joy in spending some time with 
these remarkable works of art. 

John F. McGillicuddy 

Chairman of the Board and President 

Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company 


The Whitney Museum of American Art was founded by 
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930, culminating her 
activities as the most important private patron of 
American art of her times. She established the institu- 
tion both to house her own collection of more than 600 
works (which she first offered to the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art in 1929 and was turned down) and as a 
means to continue the active support of American 
artists that she had begun more than twenty-five years 
before. Most of her patronage reflected her particular 
enthusiasm for figurative art, an interest maintained by 
the Museum in varying degrees throughout its history. 

The daughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, Gertrude 
grew up surrounded with works of art. In her early life 
she was certainly aware of the work of Augustus 
Saint-Gaudens, who carved portrait reliefs of her and 
her brother as well as the giant caryatids supporting the 
mantle in the entrance hall of the 37-room Vanderbilt 
home on Fifth Avenue between Fifty-seventh and 
Fifty-eighth Streets. When she was twelve, her father 
purchased for $52,000 one of the most famous paint- 
ings of the period, The Horse Fair by Rosa Bonheur, 
and gave it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where 
he was chairman of the executive committee. It was the 
conservative, predominantly figurative art of the 
academic tradition that Gertrude knew as a young 
adult. Following her marriage to Harry Payne Whitney 
and the birth of their three children, she continued her 
study to become a professional figurative sculptor 
whose work would win commissions and prizes. 

Mrs. Whitney's support of the arts was motivated 
by social and humanitarian concerns as well as artistic 
ones. She often purchased works of art as a way of 
helping artists in need. In extending financial assistance, 
she was particularly attracted to artists whose work had 
an affinity to her own. Many of the artists she supported 
were then considered part of the avant-garde and 
actively resisted the restrictive exhibition policies of the 
academies, but they were far less radical than the artists 
supported by Alfred Stieglitz, those who generally 
worked in abstract styles influenced by European 
modernism. For the most part, the artists whose work 
Mrs. Whitney exhibited and purchased remained 
committed to representational art, following a tradition 
established by Thomas Eakins and later continued 
through the activities of The Eight and the Art Students 

In her work as a patron. Mrs. Whitney relied on a 
circle of friends and ad\ isers comprising mostly figura- 
tive artists. With her assistant, Juliana Force, who 
became the first Director of the Museum, she consulted 
artists such as Alexander Brook, Assistant Director of 
the Whitney Studio Club from [92410 [928, Peggy 
Bacon, Guy Pene du Bois, Jo Davidson, Yasuo 
Kuniyoshi, and his wife at that time, [Catherine 
Schmidt. As should be expected, the artists they re*. 
ommended for her support were in sympathy with their 
own concerns. There were exceptions, of course, like 
Stuart Davis who bridged the gap between realism and 
abstraction, but on the whole the art Mrs. Whitney 
assembled, which became the core of the Museum's 
collection, was dominated by figurative art. Juliana 
Force, Director of the Museum from 19 31 to 1948, and 
Hermon More, Director from 1948 to 1958, both 
worked closely with Mrs. Whitney to implement her 
ideas, and after her death in 1942 they continued to do 
so. As a result, figurative art remained a dominant 
aspect of the Museum's activities through the 1 940s and 

The Museum has grown enormously since its 
founding in 1930, but the principles for which it was 
established have never been dismissed. Through the 
work of Lloyd Goodrich, associated with the Whitney 
Museum since 193 1 and Director from 1958 to 1968, 
and his successor, John I. H. Baur, associated with the 
Museum since 1952 and Director from [968 to 1974, 
the commitment to figurative art remained strong even 
as abstraction became the prevailing aesthetic in the 
years following World War II. 

It is my belief that the strength of an institution 
derives from its continuing recognition of the ideas 
upon which it was founded. The Whitney Museum has 
always maintained its commitment to living artists and 
has continued to build upon the strengths of the 
collection donated by Mrs. Whitney. Now, after several 
decades in which abstraction dominated American art, 
artists are once again turning to realism and the figure. 
This publication and the exhibition it accompanies 
offer a view of a segment of the Permanent Collection 
that is strongly associated with the history of the 
Museum and an opportunity to see the perspectives 
these works may provide for the future. We are 
particularly thankful to the Manufacturers Hanover 
Trust Company, which has made this project possible. 

lorn Armstrong 

Preface and Acknowledgments 

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and the Whitney 
Museum of American Art have played an important 
role in the history of art during our century. Since the 
preference of Mrs. Whitney, Juliana Force, and the 
staff of the Museum during its early decades was for 
figurative painting and sculpture, it is timely to focus 
on this aspect of the Permanent Collection in an exhibi- 
tion celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the founding 
of the Museum. Such an anniversary suggests an occa- 
sion for reflection about the origins of the Permanent 
Collection. It is an auspicious time to examine both the 
philosophy of its founder and the aesthetic directions of 
figurative art with which she was so closely connected. 

During the post- World War II years, changes 
occurred in American art which profoundly affected the 
direction of figurative painting and sculpture. Abstract 
artists questioned the traditionally rendered figure as a 
suitable form for aesthetic concerns, whereas 
humanistic realists, often afflicted with cultural 
pessimism, challenged traditional naturalism for being 
inadequate to the complexities of content. The Whitney 
Museum responded by accommodating the many 
tendencies which the staff had the foresight to recognize 
as valid. In the past two decades many artists have 
returned to the figure, and their works in the Whitney 
Museum collection represent an important gauge to 
measure the vitality of recent trends. 

We would like to acknowledge our gratitude to 
Rudolf Baranik, John I. H. Baur, Wanda Corn, William 
I. Homer, and Kevin Whitfield for reading all or part of 
the catalogue and for discussing the important issues 

with us. The artists we interviewed whose works are 
included have been most helpful in telling us about their 
own art and the circumstances under which it was 
produced. They include Robert Arneson, Jack Beal, 
Chaim Gross, Alex Katz, Herbert Katzman, David 
Levine, Seymour Lipton, Alice Neel, Philip Pearlstein, 
and Raphael Soyer. 

Others who have aided us in our research or have 
directed us to books, catalogues, and articles we might 
otherwise have overlooked include Lawrence Alloway, 
Susan E. Cohen, William Doreski, Ruth Gikow, Frank 
Goodyear, Jr., Charles Guiliano, Flora Irving, Gail 
Levin, Jean Lipman, Garnett McCoy, Patterson Sims, 
and May Stevens. For other courtesies we would also 
like to thank Helen Ferrulli, Deborah Gardner, Jeanette 
Hughson, Joan M. Matter, Dan and Dana Zwanziger, 
and the staff of the University of Delaware Library. Hills 
would also like to extend her gratitude to her colleagues 
at Boston University, particularly David Hall and 
Mel Wiseman, for their encouragement and advice. 

Tom Hudspeth, our assistant, handled the details 
of collecting photographs, finding articles, and collating 
the catalogue information. We are grateful for his 
diligence and good humor throughout the project. 

And, finally, we want to thank Tom Armstrong for 
providing us with the opportunity and the occasion to 
study the figurative tradition in America; without his 
continued and sustained enthusiasm the project would 
not have been realized. 

R. K. T. 

The Figurative Tradition 

and the 

Whitney Museum of American Art 

Paintings and Sculpture 

from the Permanent Collection 


Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 
as Patron 


Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney had a pervasive influence 
on American figurative art through her galleries, her 
purchases of paintings and sculpture, her financial and 
organizational support of institutions, and the funds she 
provided to individual artists. Private patronage was 
more important than either religious or civic commis- 
sions during the early twentieth century in the United 
States. Artists whose work was unacceptable to the 
juries of the academies needed the opportunity to 
exhibit their own work and also to confront new ideas 
in art from others. Mrs. Whitney, Alfred Stieglitz 
(through his "291" gallery), Hamilton Easter Field 
(Ardsley Studios), Martin Birnbaum (Berlin Photo- 
graphic Gallery), Marius de Zayas (Modern Gallery), 
and Edith Gregor Halpert (Downtown Gallery) en- 
couraged artists not only by exhibiting their paintings 
and sculpture but also by purchasing their works. Of all 
these patrons, Mrs. Whitney probably had the most 
decisive influence on figurative artists. 

Henry McBride wrote in 1942: "It is not an 
exaggeration to say that there is not a contemporary 
artist of note in America who has not been helped by 
Mrs. Whitney. From the moment of her first emergence 
into public life she began a system of philanthropies that 
finally placed the entire country in her debt." 1 In 1949 

Fig. 1. Jean de Strelecki. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 
c. K)i^. Photograph, 8V2 X 6 s /s niches. ( ollection of Flora 
Miller Irving. 

John Sloan wrote: "No one will ever know the extent of 
the private benefactions Mrs. Whitney performed 
through Mrs. Force. The records have been destroyed, 
probably at Mrs. Whitney's request. But of my own 
knowledge I know of innumerable artists whose studio 
rent was paid, or pictures purchased just at the right 
time to keep the wolf from the door, or hospital 
expenses covered, or a trip to Europe made possible." J 
Malvina Hoffman recorded that although Mrs. Whit- 
ney was "thin, and fragile in appearance, [she] worked 
tirelessly but was never too busy to help young 
sculptors; her generosity was well known to the 
profession." 3 In a letter to the editor of the New York 
Herald Tribune, Eugene Speicher went even further, 
saying that she was the most valued single patron and 
devoted friend of the American artist. 4 

It is a well-known fact that Gertrude Vanderbilt 
Whitney (1875- 1942), heiress to the Vanderbilt for- 
tune, founded the Whitney Museum of American Art in 
1930, but her support of artists from 1904 to 1930 and 
the lesser-known aspects of her patronage during those 
years have not been fully recognized. One of the earliest 
recorded recipients ot Mrs. Whitney's art patronage 
was the Greenwich House of Social Settlement, located 
on the lower East Side. She was elected to their first 
board of trustees in 1902., and she sponsored and taught 
studio classes in clay modeling. Greenwich House 
received her support throughout her life. 

In 1900 Mrs. Whitney began to stud) sculpture 


seriously, receiving instruction in modeling from Hen- 
drik C. Andersen and James Earle Fraser. By 1904, she 
was conscious that her money and social position made 
her patronage equal to her sculpture as an expression of 
creative energy. Indeed, her sculptural works were often 
not taken seriously because of her place in society. In 
1904 she recorded her goals in her journal: "To see 
artists and find out [their] wants would be a good start. 
To found a Beaux Arts — with painting and modelling 
in connection. Tuition low Scholarships. Exhibition 
rooms. Raise money for building." She accomplished 
all of these during the ensuing decades. 

In 1907 Gertrude Whitney helped to organize at 
the Colony Club an exhibition of paintings by Arthur B. 
Davies, Ernest Lawson, and Jerome Myers. She pur- 
chased two by Lawson, one of her earliest expressions 
of interest in and patronage of American realist artists. 
Davies wrote to her of the importance of her work: 
"Mr. Fraser has spoken to me of your desire to insist on 
a more vital movement in those American artistic 
qualities as yet not sufficiently perceived elsewhere." 5 

When the National Academy of Design's jury 
rejected paintings by Luks, Shinn, Sprinchorn, and Kent 
for their spring exhibition of 1907, Henri withdrew his 
works. Mrs. Whitney filled a scrapbook with clippings 
documenting the controversy and adopted the philoso- 
phy of the burgeoning independent movement as her 
own. These principles were summarized and articulated 
ten years later in the By-Laws of the Society of 
Independent Artists of which organization she had 
become a director and benefactor: 

(1) to hold exhibitions, whether annual or periodi- 
cal, of contemporary art; (2) to afford American 
and foreign artists an opportunity to exhibit their 
work independently of any jury; (3) to promote 
solidarity among American artists and to further 
cooperation between American and foreign artists, 
to the end of achieving vigorous and united art 
expression; (4) to organize or provide for the 
giving of lectures or the reading of papers upon art 
subjects, and the publication and dissemination of 
art brochures, letters or pamphlets in furtherance 
of the objects and purposes of the Society; (j) to 
assist in the furtherance and dissemination of a 
knowledge and appreciation of contemporary fine 
art by either holding or aiding in the holding of 
exhibitions or lectures; and (6) the accumulation 
of funds for the purpose of making its annual 
exhibitions permanent features of its activities. 6 

But already in 1907 Mrs. Whitney understood these 
goals of the independent artists and perceived their need 
for patrons to provide them with aesthetic and eco- 
nomic freedom. 

She decisively purchased four paintings from the 
landmark exhibition of The Eight in 1908 at the 
Macbeth Gallery. 7 Making up her mind before the 
public and the critics had a chance to react, she wrote a 
check for $2225 on February 2, the day before the 
opening. During March 1908, as the exhibition was 
being packed for shipment to the Pennsylvania 
Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Mrs. Whit- 
ney also purchased four red chalk drawings and one 
monotype by Everett Shinn. 8 

Mrs. Whitney offered support to institutions as 
well as to individuals. In 1906 the National Sculpture 
Society was having difficulty finding adequate exhibi- 
tion space. Three hundred sculptors were invited to 
take part in an exhibition planned for the fall of 1907, 
but it was canceled because the National Academy of 
Design and the Architectural League had already leased 
the gallery space of the American Fine Arts building for 
the best months of the year. The Metropolitan Museum 
refused to have an exhibition of contemporary Ameri- 
can works of art, and Madison Square Garden was too 
expensive to rent. The minutes of the February 14, 
1 906, meeting of the National Sculpture Society (Karl 
Bitter presiding) record: "Mr. French reported on the 
proposed exhibition of the National Sculpture Society. 
He stated that Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney was en- 
thusiastically interested in the scheme and would do all 
in her power to help make the exhibition a success." 9 
Daniel Chester French concluded on April 19, 1907, 
that "There seems actually to be no available place in 
New York in which to hold our exhibition." 10 Karl 
Bitter was finally able to procure the Municipal Arts 
Society building in Baltimore, Maryland. One year 
later, in April 1908, four hundred works by one 
hundred artists were on view in what was then called 
the "Armory Show," preceding the more famous ex- 
hibition of that name by five years. 

Other institutions were bolstered in their exhibi- 
tion efforts by Mrs. Whitney. In 191 1 she wrote a check 
to the National Academy of Design for $1300. Whether 
or not she was solely responsible, the National 
Academy of Design dramatically increased the number 
of sculptures that it exhibited over the next few years. In 
1905 thirteen sculptures were shown, seventy in 1907, 
and 167 in 1912, without a corresponding increase in 
paintings. Possibly, since sculpture requires pedestals 

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney n 

for exhibition, her contribution was used to purchase 
new bases. When Dana H. Carroll reviewed an exhibi- 
tion of the National Academy in [913, he also noted 
"evidences of a distinct advance toward open- 
mindedness, of a willingness to recognize modern 
tendencies,"" the kind of aesthetic freedom cham- 
pioned by Mrs. Whitney. 

She and several of her friends and relatives (includ- 
ing her uncle William K. Vanderbilt) endowed for the 
Society of Beaux- Arts Architects a "Paris Prize." It was 
intended for a "scholar to pursue his studies first class at 
the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris for two and one-half 
years." William Van Alen, whose Chrysler Building was 
erected in 1930, received the Paris Prize in 1908. 12 

Not all the institutions Mrs. Whitney supported 
were as conservative as the National Sculpture Society, 
the National Academy of Design, and the Society of 
Beaux-Arts Architects. She also provided some financial 
backing for the Madison Gallery at 305 Madison 
Avenue, which offered free exhibitions to little-known 
independent American artists and which was operated 
by Clara S. Davidge as part of Coventry Studios, her 


/ / 

/„ ,r- «c,e.r, /7c- y~ . //<rv^ 


Fig. 2. John Sloan. In it Again! Help! Help! 193 1. Crayon and 
ink on paper. 

decorating firm. I he idea <>t die 1913 Armory show was 

conceived at the Madison Gallery in December 191 1 b) 
the four artists whose work was then on view — [erome 
Myers, Elmer MacRae, Walt Kuhn, ami 1 lenrj 1 itch 
Taylor. Mrs. Whitney was sympathetic and understand- 
ing of their problems in finding a place to exhibit their 
non-academic art and, when Clara Davidge asked for 
$1000 for decorations for the Armory Show, she 
received it. Mrs. Whitney's sister-in-law, Dorothy 
Whitney Straight, also donated $1000. 

Mrs. Whitney not only agreed philosophically 
with the aims of the independent movement in America 
but guaranteed its solvency. John Sloan recalled that she 
paid the deficit of the Society of Independent Artists 
every year from its inception in 191 7 until sometime 
after the opening of the Whitney Museum in 193 1 
(Fig. 2). 13 

In January 1917 Mrs. Whitney guaranteed $5000 
toward an exhibition of Ivan Mestrovic's sculpture at 
the Baumgarten Galleries, which apparently did not 
materialize. She and Charles Dana Gibson planned an 
exhibition of the work of five sculptors to be displayed 
at the Boston Public Library. Mrs. Whitney's art 
patronage also extended to Newport, Rhode Island. 
where she was married in 1 896 at her family home "The 
Breakers," set up a studio in 1900, and worked on 
sculpture from time to time throughout her life. During 
the 1910s she organized exhibitions and paid for 
insurance and transportation of work by John Gregory, 
Paul Manship, George Bellows, Arthur B. Davies, 
William Glackens, Ernest Lawson, and herself at the 
Art Association of Newport. 

From 1923 to 1930 Mrs. Whitney provided finan- 
cial and moral. support to The Arts, a magazine which 
published the works and ideas of independent Ameri- 
can artists and, through its national circulation, pro- 
jected her philosophy of supporting American art and 
artists nationwide. The Arts was founded in 1920 by 
another energetic patron of American art, Hamilton 
Easter Field, who also served as its first editor. After 
Field's unexpected death in 1922 at the age of forty- 
nine, Forbes Watson, who had been art critic for the 
New York World and the New York Evening Post, 
became editor of The Arts. Lloyd Goodrich, Director of 
the Whitney Museum from [958 to [968, w as an editor 
of The Arts in the 1920s. 

An unusual focus of Mrs. Whitney's support was 
Branctisi v. The United States, a case initiated in [9x6 
by Edward Steichen and Brancusi and underwritten by 
Mrs. Whitney atSteichen's request. A bronze version ol 

Fig. 3. Juliana Force, c. 1930. 

Fig. 4. Peggy Bacon. Juliana Force, 1934. Charcoal on paper, 
i6 3 M x 13 % inches. Whitney Museum of American Art; Gift 
of Mr. and Mrs. Joshua A. Gollin, 74.84. 

Brancusi's Bird in Space was refused tariff-free entry 
because U.S. customs officials claimed that it was not a 
work of art and therefore subject to duty as a raw 
material. In 1928 the Supreme Court handed down the 
decision in favor of Brancusi. 

Of the many outlets Mrs. Whitney's art patronage 
found before 1930, the most influential were the 
exhibitions and activities in her own studio (1907- 14), 
the Whitney Studio (1914- 27), the Whitney Studio 
Club (1918-28), and the Whitney Studio Galleries 

At her newly acquired sculpture studio at 19 
Macdougal Alley, Mrs. Whitney's mentors, proteges, 
and colleagues gathered as early as 1907. Her studio 
was always a place where artists could assemble in an 
atmosphere of camaraderie to share common goals and 
problems. Mrs. Whitney organized impromptu and 
informal exhibitions which were not publicized and are 
largely undocumented. To enlarge the exhibition space, 
she purchased the adjacent building at 8 West Eighth 

The small Eighth Street building was altered so 
that on the first floor were two galleries and on the 
second, an office for Juliana Force, who joined Mrs. 
Whitney in 1914 to manage the gallery and the many 
other facets of her patronage over the next thirty-four 
years (Figs. 3, 4). Mrs. Force's vital role in implement- 
ing Mrs. Whitney's various programs and purchases on 
behalf of American artists was described in 1949 by 
Hermon More, then Director of the Whitney Museum 
of American Art, and Lloyd Goodrich, then Curator: 
"Every action of either Mrs. Whitney or Mrs. Force was 
really the action of both, for it was taken after full 
consultation and in complete agreement." 14 

An active, more regular exhibition program began 
at the Whitney Studio in December 1914 with benefit 
exhibitions for war charities to help fund a hospital that 
Mrs. Whitney established in France. In addition, one- 
man exhibitions, group exhibitions with such themes as 
7b Whom Shall I Go for My Portrait, and competitions 
with prizes were held. In 191 8 Indigenous Exhibitions 
were held at the Whitney Studio (Fig. 5). About twenty 

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney is 

painters were provided with blank canvases, the si/e 
chosen by lot, and during the designated week in 
February they painted subjects of their choice. During 
three days in March, twenty sculptors modeled day 
together. In addition to their individual sculptures, they 
also created a statuette (no longer extant) of Mrs. 
Whitney surrounded by her coterie. 

As a sculptor herself, Mrs. Whitney was particu- 
larly aware of the difficulty sculptors had in finding 
places to exhibit their work. She provided exhibition 
opportunities at the Whitney Studio for sculptors 
Andrew O'Connor, Malvina Hoffman, Florence 
Lucius, Grace Mott Johnson, Aristide Maillol, Cecil de 
Blaquere Howard; works by Mrs. Whitney were ex- 
hibited as well. Painters were not neglected, and John 
Sloan and Guy Pene du Bois had their very first one-man 
exhibitions at the Whitney Studio. Frnest Lawson, 
Gifford Beal, Randall Davey, Charles Demuth, Walt 
Kuhn, Henry Schnakenberg, and Allen Tucker were 
among the painters represented in Whitney Studio 
exhibitions between 19 16 and 1924. 

One especially important exhibition for American 
artists was the Overseas Exhibition which Mrs. Whit- 
ney organized and shipped to Venice to the Interna- 
tional Art Exhibition, held from May to November 

1920. It was subsequently shown in London, Sheffield, 
Paris, and New York — at the Whitney Studio — in 

1921. Mrs. Whitney purchased from the show seven 
paintings which she gave to seven museums of art in the 
United States. 

Between 191 5 and 1917 a loosely organized group 

Fig. j. The Indigenous Exhibition at the Whitney Studio 
February 1918, possibly painted by George 1 uks. John Sloan 
is at far right- Mrs. Whitney and George I. uks. in the center. 
Present whereabouts of the painting unknown. 

of patrons, the Societ) of friends ot Voting Artists, 
sponsored four (lined competitions ot works exhibited 
at the Whitney Studio. In [917 Mrs. Whitney explained 
that the Whitney 1 riends was established in the spring 

of 191 S 

to give young artists in this country the opportu- 
nity to show their work and make it known to the 
general public. Any student may send his work to 

our exhibitions. I his not only helps him by giving 
the public the chance of viewing his work, and 
possibly buying it, but it also allows him to judge of 
his own capacities in comparison to others. 

The annual exhibitions of the various estab- 
lished societies are already overcrowded, and the 
private galleries seldom accept the work of un- 
known men. . . . Only when we shall have given 
our young artist the opportunity of studying the art 
of the centuries to train and develop his taste; only 
when we shall have provided sufficient studios and 
schools in which he may make known his work; 
only then can we hope that American art will 
become what it promises to be, a fresh and 1 ital 
expression of a new, great art. ' ' 

Mrs. Whitney's next encouragement for young 
American artists was the Whitney Studio Club, or- 
ganized by about twenty artists in 1 91 8, with headquar- 
ters at 147 West Fourth Street, a building she owned. 
Blendon Campbell recalled in 1949 in an interview with 
Rosalind Irvine that on the main floor there were two 
exhibition galleries and downstairs a library filled with 
art books, a squash court, and a billiard room. The 
Campbells lived on the second floor and on the third, 
Salvatore Bilotti, an Italian stonecarver w ho had as- 
sisted Mrs. Whitney on her marble sculptures. The 
core of the Club's charter members included a group 
who studied together at the Art Students I eague: Peggy- 
Bacon, Alexander Brook, [Catherine Schmidt, Reginald 
Marsh, Henry Schnakenberg, Louis Bouche, Dorothy 
Varian, and their teacher Kenneth Hayes Miller. Annual 
exhibitions of the membership (which in 192S num- 
bered four hundred) were held from [918 through [928. 
They were the forerunners of the Whitne) Museum 
Annual (or Biennial) exhibitions which continue to the 
present day. In 192; the Whitney Studio Club moved to 
a house adjacent to the Whitne) Studio,"' and Alex- 
ander Brook was hired to assist Juliana Force and 
Gertrude Whitne) in selecting works, organizing, and 
installing exhibitions, a job he held for five years. In 

Fig. 6. Peggy Bacon. The Social Graces, 193s- 
Drypoittt, 10% x 7% inches. Whitney Museum 
of American Art; Purchase, 36.42. 

Pig. 7. Peggy Bacon. The Whitney Studio Club, 1910s. 
Drypoint, r% x 8-15/16 inches. Whitney Museum of Ameri- 
can Art; Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 11.596. 

addition to exhibitions and sketch classes at the Club, 
artist-participants remember its warm and congenial 
atmosphere, which had been Mrs. Whitney's intent 
(Figs. 6, 7). 

From November 1926 through November 1928 
the Whitney Studio Club shop, managed by Alexander 
Brook, was in business on the top floor of 10 West 
Eighth Street. Prints, watercolors, and drawings were 
sold there, encouraging not just the artists but also 
collectors. In November 1928 the Whitney Studio and 
the Whitney Studio Club were succeeded by the 
Whitney Studio Galleries. Juliana Force stated in an 
interview in the New York Herald, November 7, 1928, 
that the Galleries would be run as a commercial gallery 
for contemporary art rather than as "an organization of 
artists philanthropically inspired." Forty one-artist ex- 
hibitions and several group shows were held there. The 
Galleries were dissolved in March 1930, two months 
after the inception of the Whitney Museum of Ameri- 
can Art. 

In all of these Whitney-named enterprises from 
1914 to 1930 it was Mrs. Whitney's objective to show 
the work of the most progressive artists because the 
modernism and experimental nature of their work 
prevented their acceptance in the annuals of the Na- 
tional Academy of Design, the National Sculpture 
Society, and the Carnegie Institute. These artists seemed 

relatively traditional, however, especially after the 
influx of such expatriates as Marcel Duchamp in 191 5 
and the emergence of the intellectually volatile 
Arensberg circle and New York Dada. Artists as- 
sociated with Mrs. Whitney's organizations generally 
favored figurative work, as opposed to the emphasis on 
abstraction of the Stieglitz circle. Whitney artists ac- 
cepted the basic premise of selecting a recognizable 

l &£III 

Fig. H. Exterior of the Whitney Museum of American Art, 
Eighth Street. 

( rertrude Vanderbili Whitney 

Fig. 9. Lobby of the Whitney Museum, Eighth Street. 
Fountain by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, /<;m (see 
Fig. 68), and Wood Nymph by John Gregory, in tin' niche, 
note in the collection of Flora Whitney Miller. 

human figure and then dealt with problems of scale, 
composition, costume, sensuality, externa! appearance, 
surface treatment, and the like. Early twentieth-century 
avant-garde artists, on the other hand, denied the 
figural canon and either reinvented figural types or used 
the machine, psychology, or non-objective form as their 
central motivating force or symbol. 

By 1929 Mrs. Whitney had acquired more than six 
hundred works in her personal collection, most or 
which became part of the Permanent Collection of the 
Whitney Museum of American Art. Most of the works 
were purchased from the various exhibitions sponsored 
by Mrs. Whitney. Thus the selection of works that 
entered the Permanent Collection of the Whitney 
Museum was greatly affected by a policy initiated by 
Mrs. Whitney, probably because of the "no-jury, no- 
prizes" policy of the new Society of Independent Artists 
which held its first exhibition in April 191-. After that 
year, Mrs. Whitney no longer held competitive juried 
exhibitions and instead used funds designated for prizes 
to purchase works from the exhibitions. According to 
Alexander Brook, the Whitney Studio and \\ hitne) 
Studio Club were not competitive with commercial 
galleries but provided a "steppingstone for the artists to 
gain recognition from critics and dealers. . . . Introduc- 

Fig. 10. Opening exhibition of the Whitney Museum of 
American Art, I ighth Street. 

Fig. 11. Permanent ( Collection installation, Summer i>) 12, 
Whitney Museum of American Art. I ighth Street. 

tory exhibitions [were] specifically limited to those who 
did not have an outlet tor their work." 17 

Paul Rosenfeld observed at the time of the opening 
ot the Whitney Museum of American An that its 
Permanent C 'ollcction was formed tor purposes other 
than those ot a museum. Works were often purchased 
to support struggling artists, tor Juliana Force and Mrs. 
Whittle) were as interested in the human needs ot the 
artists as they were in connoisseurship. This backing tor 
American artists critical in establishing their repu- 
tations, bringing their works to public view, and 


Fig. 11. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Jo Davidson, 1917. 
Bronze, 20 inches high. Collection of Flora Whitney Miller. 

encouraging them to create at their very highest level. 

Support of individual artists is more difficult to 
assess than that of new or existing institutions, but it 
constituted one of the most decisive aspects of Gertrude 

Fig. 13. Jo Davidson. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, c. 1917. 
Bronze, 20 x. 5V2 x 4% inches. Whitney Museum of Ameri- 
can Art; Gift of Flora Whitney Miller, 68.24. 

Vanderbilt Whitney's patronage. Those artists were 
able to work at a higher, more innovative level than they 
would have without Mrs. Whitney's interest and 
funds — if they had even been able to continue as artists 
at all. Among the many who received contracts to teach 
or funds for study or studio expenses from Mrs. 
Whitney between 1905 and 1930 were Arthur Lee, 
Bernard Karfiol, Edgar McAdams, Jo Davidson, 

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 19 

Fig. 14. Thomas Hart Benton. Political Business and Intellec- 
tual Ballyhoo, 1932. Egg tempera mural, 56V2 x 108 inches. 
The New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain. 

Morgan Russell, John Gregory, Michael Brenner, 
Emanuele Ordono de Rosales, Herbert Haseltine, 
Stuart Davis, John Steuart Curry, and Reuben Nakian. 
In addition, her purchase of a painting or sculpture 
secured basic living expenses for the artist for several 
months. She was careful not to demean artists by pure 
philanthropy, and their responses upon receipt of 
checks indicate the importance of her support. Arthur 
Lee wrote to Mrs. Whitney from Paris on September 1 8, 
1907: "I am safe in Utopia for another two years thanks 
to you. . . . There is nothing better than to be young and 
to be studying art in Paris." 18 In 1907 she "stored" the 
sculpture of her teacher Hendrik C. Andersen in her 
garden to save him the expense of a warehouse, and he 
wrote her from Rome that year for funds to cast a 
monumental multi-figure sculpture: 

/ need help; yet I am, I confess, most reluctant in 
asking you if in the course of the casting you u ould 
be willing to help me with any part. Yet when I 
think of the definite accomplishments of the u 'ork I 

am willing to go to any length and therefore 
frankly ask you if you feel inclined to give perma- 

nence of the casting of these groups into bronze. 

I would have had more money if I had given 
myself up to portraits, but I would not have time to 
do this important work. M 

From 1908 to 1916 Mrs. Whitney provided Morgan 
Russell with a small allowance. After she had mailed a 
particularly generous check to Russell, he replied from 
Paris, April 1, 19 10: 

While awaiting your answer I was rather gloomy 

not knowing what to expect, but upon receiving it 
I fairly leaped into the air —all because I was again 
to have days and weeks to grow and work freely 20 

In the same letter Russell also commented on the 
"overwhelming sense oi moral responsibility" that the 
check brought. "I take [the check] as meaning that you 
were satisfied with the use made ot the last one." During 
the years he was receiving financial support from Mrs. 
Whitney, Russell was a co-founder ot Synchromism, 
one ot the tew early twentieth-centun American 

Fig. 15. Mrs. Whitney's studio in Old Westbury, Long Island, 
designed by William Adams Delano, 19 10 -13. 

avant-garde concepts that interested European artists. 

Another artist supported by Mrs. Whitney, Juliana 
Force, and Whitney-named organizations was Thomas 
Hart Benton, who in 1932 painted the murals The Arts 
of Life in America (Fig. 14), installed in the library of 
the Whitney Museum on West Eighth Street. According 
to Benton, the murals were to stimulate "young artists, 
aesthetes, and amateur sociologists." 21 

One of the most fascinating documents of Mrs. 
Whitney's patronage is the still-intact Beaux-Arts style 
studio she built on the Whitney family estate in Old 
Westbury, Long Island, to replace the blacksmith's 
shop she had been using (Fig. 15). The architect was 
William Adams Delano, a friend of the family who had 
studied with V.-A.-F. Laloux at the Ecole des Beaux- 
Arts (graduated 1902) and who was known for his fine 
traditional buildings on Manhattan and Long Island. 22 
Plans for the studio (twenty feet high, sixty long, and 
forty wide) and several auxiliary rooms were drawn in 
1 9 10, and by 19 1 3 the elegant symmetrical building 

with formal gardens was completed. Paul Chalfin 
designed and installed mosaics on the floor and vault of 
the entrance portico. 23 

Mrs. Whitney commissioned her life-long friend 
Howard Cushing to paint murals in the curved stair- 
well. 24 Cushing devised imaginative tropical flora and 
fauna at the lower level culminating in a portrait of 
Mrs. Whitney, dressed in her Bakst costume, 
greeting guests from her position on the wall opposite 
the top of the stairs (Figs. 16, 17). The walls of the 
upstairs bedroom were painted in black and gold by 
Robert Chanler. 25 The eclectic equestrian battle scene 
reminds one both of Uccello's Battle of San Romano 
and northern Renaissance figure types. The walls of the 
bathroom are painted with an underwater scene by 
Chanler to suggest a submarine grotto. Later Chanler 
participated in Whitney Studio exhibitions and activi- 
ties and painted exotic decorations for Mrs. Whitney's 
Macdougal Alley studio. She helped him through a 
financial crisis in 1918, and during November 1926 

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney u 

Fig. 16. Howard dishing. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 
Bakst Costume, mural for second floor stairwell, Old Westbury 
studio, c. 191 s- Oil on canvas. Collection of Flora Whitney Miller. 

Fig. / 7. Baron de Meyer. Gertrude Vanderbilt 
Whitney in Bakst Costume, c. T913. Photograph. 
9V4 x 4% inches. Collection of Flora Miller Irving. 

Chanler had a one-man exhibition of portraits at the 
Whitney Studio Club. 

MaxHeld Parrish was commissioned during the 
spring of 1 9 10 to paint murals for the four walls of the 
studio's reception room (Fig. 18). The six-by-nineteen- 
foot mural decorations were placed above the dark 
wood wainscoting so that the rectangular format of the 
murals would not be interrupted by fenestration. 
Parrish wrote to Mrs. Whitney in 191 2 that the 
background would be "evening blue" because, "I am 
sure you will agree with me, that . . . there is nothing 
more beautiful in all nature than figures against a 
sky. . . ," 26 He also explained that his scheme was of a 
medieval fete or masquerade taking place in a loggia, 
courtyard, and garden. Even with an established artist 
like Parrish, Gertrude Whitney provided an opportu- 
nity of sorts — he expressed his appreciation and delight 
with the freedom he had been allowed in rendering the 
murals and thought the results were better because of it. 
He continued, "It is tremendously interesting to have 

this chance to revel in color as deep and as rich as you 
please. . . ." 27 There were some difficulties with the 
murals. After he had accepted the commission he 
started on "acres of decorations" for the Curtis Publish- 
ing Company building in Philadelphia. The Whitney 
panels finished in 1 9 1 8 were out of scale with the panels 
completed in 19 14, and the murals were not the same 
measurements as the spaces to accommodate them, so 
adjustments had to be made. However, these recently 
restored mural panels arc prime examples of a mode, 
now part of history, of which Parrish was a master. 
The strong personal philosophies of Gertrude 
Vanderbilt Whitney that form the common thread of all 
her activities as a patron were based on an unflagging 
belief in American an and American artists. She favored 
figurative art over abstract and representation, and 
realism over more intellectual aesthetic philosophies. 
Thus, she is very different from Alfred Stieglit/, Walter 
Arensberg, Mabel Dodge, Gertrude and Leo Stein, 
Dr. Claribel and Miss Etta Cone, and [Catherine Dreier, 


Fig. 18. Maxfield Parrish. Mural for reception room, Old Westbury studio. 
Oil on canvas, 6 x 19 feet. Collection of Flora Whitney Miller. 

all of whom supported vanguard artists, but closer to 
Hamilton Easter Field. 

In addition to affirming artists' aesthetic quests, 
Mrs. Whitney tried to provide them with economic 
freedom through the exhibition and purchase of their 
work as well as occasional outright gifts of money, 
especially in times of emergency. She helped the artists 
help themselves in their own fields of endeavor. Forbes 
Watson stated that her aim was "simple, to stimulate 
current creative forces by showing and buying the 
works of current creative artists." 28 The Whitney 
Museum was the formalized institution that emerged 
after twenty-five years of private sponsorship. 

In a speech at the opening of the Whitney Museum 
of American Art on West Eighth Street in 193 1, Mrs. 
Whitney described her patronage: "For twenty-five 
years I have been intensely interested in American art. I 
have collected during these years the work of American 
artists because I believe them worthwhile and because I 
believed in our national creative talent. Now I am 
making this collection the nucleus of a museum devoted 
exclusively to American art." 29 

In 1954 the Whitney Museum moved from Eighth 
Street to a new building erected at 22 West Fifty-fourth 
Street. Lloyd Goodrich wrote: 

The new museum's basic principles had already 
been shaped by years of experience, and they have 
not changed essentially since . . .: that the contem- 
porary art of a nation has a special importance for 
its people . . .; that a museum's function is not 
merely to conserve the past but to play an active 

part in the creative life of the present; that a 
museum should always be open to the new, the 
young and the experimental; that it should never 
forget that the artist is the prime mover in all 
artistic matters; that it should support his freedom 
of expression, respect his opinions and avoid any 
attempt to found a school. 30 

At the time of its founding the Whitney Museum 
was the only museum devoted to American art and one 
of the few focusing on contemporary art. From 1931 
forward, Mrs. Whitney's role as a patron was chan- 
neled through the Museum's activities. The part that the 
Whitney Museum and Juliana Force played in the 
Public Works of Art Project in 1933 and 1934 and 
decisions made by the staff on the new Museum are 
really another story. The Annuals of the Whitney 
Museum reflected its founder's preference for figurative 
art well into the 1950s. Until her death in 1942, Mrs. 
Whitney remained active in making selections from the 
Annual exhibitions; by 1935 she had added 350 new 
works to the Museum's collection. 

After World War II, American artists assumed 
international leadership. Some of the atmosphere of 
confidence and originality motivating them can be 
credited to the economic and aesthetic freedom fostered 
by Mrs. Whitney's support. The rise of Abstract 
Expressionism challenged the validity of figurative art, 
with which Mrs. Whitney is identified as artist and 
patron. Representations of people in paintings and 
sculpture are reemerging — however simplified, 
geometricized, stylized, distorted, or fragmented, but as 
creative as non-objective expressions. 

Color Plates 

PI. i. John Sloan. The Hawk (Yolande in Large Hat), ;y;o. 

PL i. Robert Henri. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 1916. 

/'/. }. George Luks. Mrs. Gamley, 1930. 

PI. 4. Man Ray. Five Figures, 1914. 

/'/. >-. Leon Kroll. Nude in a Blue Chair, 1930. 

PI. 6. Arshile Gorky. The Artist and His Mother, 1916-19. 

PI. 7. Rockwell Kent. The Trapper, 1921. 

PL 8. Raphael Soyer. Office Girls, 193 6. 

/'/. o. Ben Shahn. The Passion <>t Sacco and Vanzetti, 1951-31. 

PI. io. Philip Evergood. Lily and the Sparrows, 1939. 

PI. 11. Louis Guglielmi. Terror in Brooklyn, 1941. 

PI. 12. Gaston Lachaise. Standing Woman, 19/2-27. 

PI. / 3 . Elie Nadelman. Su r la PI age, ; 9 < c> . 

PI. 14. William Zorach. Figure of a Child, 1921. 

/'/. ry. JosS de Creeft. The Cloud 1939. 

PL 16 Thomas Hart Benton. Poker Night (From "A Streetcar Named Desire"), 1948. 

/'/. ;-. Henry Koerner. Vanity Fair, 1946. 

PI. 18. Paul Cadmus. Fantasia on a Theme by Dr. S, 1946. 

PI. ;y. Willem de Kooning. Woman and Bicycle, 1952-5 J. 

PI. 10. David Park. Four Men, 1958. 

PI. 21. Richard Diebenkom. Girl Looking at Landscape, 1957. 

PI. 12. Peter Saul. Saigon, 1967. 

PI. 23. Tom Wesselmann. Great American Nude, Number 57, 1964. 

PI. 24. jack Beat. Danae II, 1972. 

PI. 2 f . Fairfield Porter. The Screen Porch, 1964. 

PI. 26. Audrey Flack. Lady Madonna, 1972. 

PL 27. Alice Neel. The Soyer Brothers, 1973. 

PI. 28. Alex Katz. Place, 1977. 

PL i<). Jacques Lipchitz. Sacrifice, II, 1948/52. 

/'/. jo. Duane Hanson. Woman and Dog, 1977. 

/'/. j i. Robert Arneson. Whistling in the Dark, 1976. 

PI. )i. Mary Frank. Swimmer, 1978. 

Color Plates 

PL i. John Sloan. The Hawk (Yolande in Large Hat), 7970. 
Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 inches. Promised soth Anniversary 
Gift of the John Sloan Memorial Foundation, P. 22.79. 

PI. 2. Robert Henri. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, r9i6. Oil 

on canvas, so x 72 inches. Promised gift of Flora Whitney 

Miller, \0.77. 

PI. \. George Luks. Mrs. Gamley, 79 ?o. Oil on canvas, 

66 x 48 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney; 51.289. 

/'/. 4. Man Ray. Five Figures, ; 9/4. 0/7 o« canvas, 36 x 32 
inches. Gift of Mrs. Katharine Kuh, 56.36. 

PI. $•. Leow /\W/. Nude in a Blue Chair, 79 jo. ( >// 0« canvas, 
48V4 x 36 'A inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 3 (.264. 

P/. 6. Arshile Gorky. The Artist and His Mother, 7926-29. 
O/V om canvas, 60 x 50 inches. Gift ofjulien Levy for Maro 
and Natasha Gorky in memory of their father, 50.17. 

PI. 7. Rockwell Kent. The Trapper, 1921. Oil on canvas, 
54 x 44 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, ] 1.2 s8. 

PI. S. Raphael Soyer. Office Girls, 7936. Oil on canvas, 
26 x 24 inches. Purchase, 36.749. 

PI. 9. Ben Shahn. The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti, 
/9fi-)-- Tempera on canvas, 84 V2 x 48 inches. Gift of Edith 
and Milton Lowenthal in memory of Juliana Force, 49.22. 

PI. 70. Philip Evergood. Lily and the Sparrows, 7939. Oil on 
composition board, 30 X 24 inches. Purchase, 41.42. 

PI. 1 1. Louis Guglielmi. Terror in Brooklyn, 7941. Oil on 
canvas, 34 x 30 inches. Purchase, 42.5. 

PI. 12. Gaston Each aise. Standing Woman, 7972-2-. Bronze, 
70 x 28 x 16 inches. Purchase, 36.97. 

PI. 73. Elie Nadelman. Sur la Plage, 7976. Marble and 
bronze, 23 x 26 X U x 7V2 inches. Promised soth Anniversary 
Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation in honor of Lloyd 
Goodrich, P.3.79. 

PI. 14. William Zorach. Figure of a Child, i<>n. Mahogany, 
24 x s V2 x 6 V* inches. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edward /. 
Kempf 70.61. 

PL is. Jose de Creeft. The Cloud. 1939. Greenstone, 
13V2 x /2V2 x 8V2 inches. Purchase, 41.1-. 

Pl.16 Thomas Hart Benton. Poker Night From"ASi 
Named Desire"), 1948 Tempera and oil on panel, 
inches. Promised gift of Vfra Peri 

Pl.17. Henry Koemer. Vanity Fair, 1946 Oil on composition 
board, )6 < 42 inches ''.'</. h 1 

/'/. 18. Paul (admits. Fantasia on a ["heme by Dr. S., 
Eggtempera on composition board, 1 $ ■ 13 inches Purchase, 47.1. 

PI. i<i. Willem de Kooning. Woman and Bicycle, 1952-53. 
Oil on canvas, 7 6Vj ■ 48 inches. Purchase, ss.ts. 

PI. 20. David Park. Four Men, 1958. Oil on canvas, s- ■ 72 
nn hes. Gift of an anonymous foundation, S9.27. 

PI. 21. Richard Diebenkorn. Girl Looking at Landscape, 
1957. Oil on canvas, $9 x 60V4 inches. Gift of Mr. and Virs 
Alan H. Temple, 61.49. 

/'/. 22. Peter Saul. Saigon, i<)(>-. Oil on canvas, 92% X 742 
im bes. ( rift of the Friends of the Whitney Museum of 
American Art, 69.103. 

PL 2;. Tom Wesselmann. Great American Nude, Number 
57, 7964. Synthetic polymer on composition hoard. 48 ■ 65 
inches. Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Museum of 
American Art, 65.10. 

PI. 24. lack Beat. Danae II, 7972. Oil on canvas, 68 x 68 
inches. Gift of Charles Simon, anonymous donor (and 
purchase), -4.82. 

PI. 2 r. {airfield Porter. The Screen Porch, 79C14. ( )il on 

canvas, 79V2 x 79V2 inches. Laurence 11. Bloedel Bequest, .1.47. 

/'/. 26. Audrey Flack. Lady Madonna, 7972. Oil on canvas, 
78 x 69 inches. Gift of 'Martin /. Zimet, -2.42. 

/'/. 27. Alice Neel. The Soyer Brothers, 197 j. ( )il on cam as, 
60 x 46 inches. Gift of Arthur M. Bullowa, Sydney Duffy. 
Stewart R. Mott, Edward Rosenthal (and purchase), 74.77. 

PI. 28. Alex Katz. Place, 1977. ( hi on canvas, 108 x 744 
inches. Gift of Frances and Sydney I ewis, 78.2 \ 

PI. 29. Jacques Lipchitz. Sacrifice, II, 1948/52. Bronze 
49V4 x 33 x 22 inches. Purchase. 52.27. 

PI. 30. Duane Hanson. Woman .met Dog, /<> — . Poly- 
chromed polyvinyl, life-size. Gift of Frances an J Sydney 
Lewis. 78.6. 

PI. j i. Robert Ameson. Whistling in the Dark, 1976. Terra- 
cotta and glazed ceramic, )6V* -20 x 20 inches Gif 
Frances and Sydney I ewis, ~~. \7 

PI. j2. Mary Frank. Swimmer, 1978. Ceramic, 17 ■ "4 ■ }2 

inches. Gift of M'<. Robert \l. Benjamin, Mrs. ( )scat Kolitt, 
and Mrs. Nicholas \ !////'< tuse, 79.31. 


Painting, 1 900-1 940 


At the turn of the century, Robert Henri and the first 
wave of twentieth-century American realists, who 
made New York City their home, became aware that 
movements within urban society were changing the 
course of history. The tides of immigration and the 
shifts of population in the United States were creating 
overcrowded cities. The growth of trade unionism and 
the rise of the socialist movement were forcing pro- 
gressive legislation. The rapid advances in technology 
and the transportation explosion were transforming the 
work and leisure habits of all classes. Henri and the 
realists found inspiration in the poetry of Walt Whit- 
man, who had celebrated both individualism and the 
common man, as they developed a characteristically 
American form of humanism — optimistic, liberal, and 
democratic. ' 

Although humanism as a concept has been chang- 
ing from the Renaissance to the present, it has generally 
referred to the study of or concern for man and his 
accomplishments rather than to theological matters. In 
1938, a date which nearly coincides with the midpoint 
of our period, art historian Erwin Panofsky defined 
humanism in terms which could have been the credo of 
Henri and his realist friends: "the conviction of the 
dignity of man, based on both the insistence on human 

Fig. r<>. Robert Henri, Laughing Child 1907. Oil on canvas, 
24 x 20 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 31.240. 

values (rationality and freedom) and the acceptance of 
human limitations (fallibility and rrailty)." 2 What the 
definition means in the outlook of these artists is that 
human dignity is a universal quality — all men, women, 
and children of all classes, ages, races, creeds, and 
nationalities have dignity. To insist on human values 
means to encourage the principles and moral standards 
which are generated by a society of free and equal 
people who respect each other's liberty and equality; 
but to Henri and his followers it also meant cherishing 
the altruistic emotions. To accept human limitations 
means to have compassion for psychological m\<\ 
physical frailties and imperfections; but it also means 
acknowledging that ordinary people, and not jusl .1 
special and elite group, have possibilities for heroism, 
and that profound emotional, aesthetic, and social 
responses are potentially available to everybody. 

These artists, therefore, came to believe, as had 
Whitman, that individualism, the behet in the primac] 
of individual states and interests,* was not the exclusive 
province of the upper classes, creative artists, and "men 
of genius," but was manifest in each unique individual 
of whatever sex, race, or class. They were fascinated not 
only by specific, physical bod) types, as opposed to an 
idealized composite based on classical norms, but also 
were devoted to recording the life-st) les, social acth 1- 
ties, dreams (and later even nightmares of individuals. 

This outlook, then, explains these anisrs' rejection 
of the genteel subject matter of the late nineteenth 


century — the leisure-class domestic scenes of Frank 
Benson and Edmund Tarbell, the elegant and sophisti- 
cated portraits of John Singer Sargent, and the moody, 
sentimental figure pieces of George B. Fuller. All had 
disregarded the full and varied range of human 

While the realist artists maintained that the genteel 
tradition ignored human limitations, they were equally 
critical of the art-for-art's-sake movement. The art 
produced by this movement offered a necessary anti- 
dote to Victorian sentimentality. But because of its 
preoccupation with the aesthetic design of line, form, 
and color, it dismissed what it considered literary 
values, namely the representation of human emotions 
and behavior. Its concern was the nature of beauty 
rather than the nature of man. Charles Caffin, writing 
in 1907, expressed the critical attitude of the realists 
who opposed art for art's sake: 

[Art for art's sake] had, as other such rallying cries, 
a modicum of sanity and much extravagance. It 
was in its best sense a protest against the de- 
pendence of painting upon literature, and against 
the tendency to consider the subject of more 
importance than the method of representation. It 
was an assertion never out of place, that the 
quality of the artistic form must be the final test of a 
work of art. But it ran to extravagance in assuming 
that the artistic form was the only test; that what it 
might embody was of no account at all; that the 
method of presentation was the first, last, and only 
important concern of the artist. It put asunder the 
twain that should be one flesh — the form and the 
expression. The result was for a time, sterility; 
much cry and little wool; plenty of good work- 
manship, but a poverty of emotional or spiritual 
significance. h 

Moreover, to realists the term called to mind the 
dandified and aristocratic types such as Whistler. 

Sometime in the early twentieth century, the term 
art for art's sake changed to Post-Impressionism and 
then was modified to modernism as critics witnessed 
the movement expanding, shedding its effete associa- 
tions, and allying itself with twentieth-century technol- 
ogy. 6 African, Oceanic, and pre-Columbian art, which 
seemed rhythmically dynamic and bold, as well as 
machine forms, replaced the sensuously sublime Orien- 
tal art that had appealed to Whistler's generation. The 
good workmanship, qualified by Caffin above, gave 

way to "significant form," championed by Clive Bell, 
who may not have invented the term, but who gave it 
popular currency in his critical writings of 191 1 and 

Like all sound revolutions, Post- Impressionism is 
nothing more than a return to first principles. Into 
a world where the painter was expected to be 
either a photographer or an acrobat burst the 
Post-Impressionist, claiming that, above all things, 
he should be an artist. Never mind, said he, about 
representation or accomplishment —mind about 
creating significant form, mind about art. . . . 
Post-Impressionism is nothing but the reassertion 
of the first commandment of art — Thou shalt 
create form. 7 

To Bell, the subject was unimportant. However, the 
creation and manipulation of form was not for its own 
sake, but for the sake of provoking an aesthetic 
response: "The important thing about a picture, how- 
ever, is not how it is painted, but whether it provokes 
aesthetic emotion." 8 That emotion, unlike the human 
emotions of sympathy or empathy, was the response to 
form. Although many early abstract artists such as 
Kandinsky and later Mondrian were concerned with 
empathetic expression or the search for essences and 
universals, too often their work has been interpreted as 
a preoccupation with formal values only. Indeed, where 
Post-Impressionism today suggests certain forms of 
expressionism, such as the works of van Gogh and 
Gauguin, modernism as it has evolved has come to 
suggest the manipulation of form alone solely for 
aesthetic ends. 9 

Bell, as he was evolving his aesthetic theory, had in 
mind such artists as Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso, 
whose work was not publicly exhibited in America until 
the end of the first decade. It was then that Alfred 
Stieglitz, with the enthusiastic help of Edward Steichen, 
began to show the work of the European moderns in 
January 1908 when he exhibited Rodin drawings at his 
Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession at 291 Fifth 
Avenue in New York. By 191 3 he had also mounted 
shows of the works on paper by Matisse, Picasso, and 
Cezanne; however, the audience who viewed these 
exhibitions was relatively small. It was not until 
February 1 9 13 that the general public was introduced to 
the modern tendencies in French art when the mam- 
moth International Exhibition of Modern Art opened 
at the Sixty-ninth Regiment Armory in New York. The 

Painting, /v r; 6i 

exhibition contained about 1,600 works including 
sculpture, paintings, drawings, and prints of which 
one-third were late nineteenth-century and early 
twentieth-century European art. The artists included 
Cezanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Derain, 
Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Gleizes, Leger, Picabia, 
Villon, Delaunay, Munch, Kandinsky, Kirchner, and the 
sculptors Archipenko, Duchamp- Villon, Manolo, 
Lehmbruck, Maillol, and Brancusi. Although the press 
ridiculed the exhibition, which traveled on to Chicago 
and Boston, many young American artists were over- 
whelmed by the energy and vitality of what they saw. 1 " 

Whatever its name, modernism — the concern 
with form — left its mark on almost all aspects of 
twentieth-century art. However, even though American 
figure painters from 1900 to 1940 experimented with 
the various European modernist styles (Fauvism, ana- 
lytic cubism, collage cubism, and Constructivism), they 
ended by considerably modifying those styles because 
of their own insistence on the unique, the individual, 
and often the "American." This commitment to the 
worth of the individual overrode all other ideological 
commitments even during the tumultuous 1930s when 
artists were challenged by socialist ideas. With the 
hindsight of history, we can today see that Gertrude 
Vanderbilt Whitney and later Juliana Force, as patrons 
to a great number of early twentieth-century figurative 
artists, helped liberal humanism to flourish in the arts. 
The Whitney Museum's collection of figurative paint- 
ings charts that humanist current in American art in 
the decades before World War IE 

Early Twentieth-Century 
American Realists 

When the twentieth century arrived the academic and 
mural painters such as Kenyon Cox, Edwin Blashheld, 
and their friends dominated figure painting in America. 
Because they influenced the juries and hanging commit- 
tees of the National Academy of Design, the Society of 
American Artists, the Pennsylvania Academy of the 
Fine Arts, and other art institutions, younger artists of 
less conventional subject matter or more modern styles 
found that recognition in the art community was 
difficult to achieve. In 1898, a group often New York 
and Boston impressionist and figurative artists or- 
ganized their own exhibition in order to show their 

work to its best advantage. In their st\ les and subjeel 
matter these artists, w ho came to be called I lu- [en, 
hardly seem innovative to today's * iewer. Their st) les 

ranged from the tasteful impressionism of Frederick 
Childe Hassam, Willard Leroy Metcalf, [ohn Henry 
1 w achtman, and Julian Alden Weir to the fashionable 
figure styles (with echoes of Vermeer of Frank Benson, 
William Merritt ( base, (oseph Rodefcr De ( amp, 
Thomas Dewing, Robert Reid, Edward Simmons, and 
Edmund Tarbell." Their subject matter included garden 
landscapes, quiet forest interiors, and languid ladies of 
the leisure class flitting through green meadows or 
performing bourgeois social rituals such as w nting 
letters, visiting at tea time, and supervising the sen ants. 
In time, The Ten and their friends also became part 
of the establishment, resisting the efforts of newcomers 
such as the New York realists. John Sloan's comment in 
his diary, when he heard the names of the jury members 
for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts annual 
exhibition of 1906, characterizes the resentment of a 
younger generation: 

The Penn. Academy jury has Glackens on it. 
which is fine, but oh, the rest of the list is out today 
Redfield, chairman, De Camp of Boston, Benson 
of Boston. Oh the poor Boston Brand of American 
Art! Childe Hassam, who ours debts of kindness 
to last year's juries, Julian Story the temporary 
Philadelphian. Oh sad outlook! Redfield on the 
Hanging Committee!! S'death. 12 

To the figure painters in the earl) \ cars of the 
century, such as Robert Henri and Sloan, neither the 
academic, the genteel impressionist, nor the Post- 
Impressionist styles could communicate their en- 
thusiasm for the American urban scene .\\k\ the spirited 
people who inhabited it. 

To show their work to a public they knew was 
interested, Henri along with John Sloan organized an 
exhibition of eight painters, which was held at the 
Macbeth Gallery in February 1908. Gertrude Vander- 
bilt Whitney, who had herself organized in 190- an 
exhibition of the paintings of Arthur B. Da\ ies, Ernest 
Lawson, and Jerome Myers, 13 selected tour paintings to 
purchase before the opening o\ the Macbeth Gallerj 
showing: Henri's / aughing ( 'hild, George I uks's 
Woman with Goose, Everett Shinn's Rente, and Ernest 
Lawson's Winter on the River. By then she w as firmly 
committed to the patronage of living American figura- 
tive .\nd realist artists. Of the others m the group — 

Fig. 20. Alfred H. Maurer. An Arrangement, 1901. Oil on 
cardboard, 36 x 3 1 % inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hudson 
D. Walker, 50.13. 

Sloan, Davies, Maurice Prendergast, and William 
Glackens — Mrs. Whitney extended her support in 
numerous ways. Sloan had a one-man exhibition at the 
Whitney Studio in 1916; Mrs. Whitney purchased 
works by the others so that in the inaugural exhibition 
of the Whitney Museum of American Art in November 
193 1 they were all represented. 

The figurative realism of Henri and his younger 
friends and students, in contrast to turn-of-the-century 
aestheticism, finds an appropriate paradigm in his 
Laughing Child of 1907 (Fig. 19) when compared with 
Alfred Maurer's An Arrangement of 1901 (Fig. 20). 
Maurer at that time was influenced by both Art 
Nouveau and Whistler in his choice of title, composi- 
tion, and motifs. The woman who bends down to sew 
or repair a piece of fabric is less the subject than the 
occasion for Maurer's artistic creation. The billowing 
mass of her crumpled skirt, the white shape of her 
blouse, and the soft oval of her head set off a pattern 
created by the Chinese rug which, as it recedes into 
space, tilts upward to meet the carefully placed back- 
ground screen and Oriental vases. 

Fig. 21. Everett Shinn. 

Revue, 1908. 

Oil on canvas, 

18 x 24 inches. 

Gift of 

Gertrude Vanderbilt 

Whitney, 31.346. 

Painting, \y 63 

Fig. 11. John Sloan. The Picnic Grounds, 1906-07. Oil on 
canvas, 14 x $6 inches. Purchase, 41.34. 

Henri, in contrast, focused on the impish face of 
the laughing blond boy by using a free and loose 
brushstroke that recalls the bravura style of Frans Hals. 
Henri and his group were attracted to the spontaneity 
and life of children. In fact, to see life as if through the 
eyes of a child was desirable, and Henri admired Renoir 
for his reverence of children. 14 

Through Henri's teaching and exhortations he 
encouraged a generation of younger artists to value the 
urban scene and the working classes as subject matter 
and to disdain aestheticism and art for art's sake. To 
Rockwell Kent, recalling in 1955 his own student years 
at the New York School of Art, "Henri as an instructor, 
Henri as a leader of revolt against Academic sterility, 
Henri as an inspirational influence in American art, is 
possibly the most important figure of our cultural 
history." 15 Guy Pene du Bois, in his autobiography, 
remembered the young students who emulated Henri: 
"They were natural men, liking life enough to want to 
tear off the veil thrown so modestly or priggishly over it 
by the prevailing good taste." " ; Rebelling against the 
genteel tradition and, according to du Bois, taking their 
cues from Whitman, Dreiser, and the literary realists, 
they found the most vital subject matter in the cities: 

Here, before their eyes, was the untouched 
panorama of life, an unlimited field, an art 
bonanza. Here in the Alligator ( 'afe on the Bow- 
ery the Haymarket on Sixth Avenue, the ferry- 
boats, the lower East Side, in any number of cheap 
red-ink restaurants, one found subjects as un- 
defiled by good taste or etiquette or behavior — 
that national hypocrisy —as a new-born babe. 
Here was life in the raw or nearly so. life anyway 
not trying to pretend through a crooked finger or 
repelled nostrils to the pi tssession of the better sort 
of breeding." 

The other figurative artists, Shinn, Glackens, I uks, 
and Sloan, all former newspaper illustrators from 
Philadelphia, were encouraged b) 1 lenri's example to 
paint. Everett Shinn specialized in vaudeville entertain- 
ers (see Fig. 11); Glackens painted cafe habitues; and 
Sloan depicted city parks, beaches, and picnic grounds 
brimming with exuberant men and women such as the 
"young girls ot the health) lust) t) pe." depicted in his 
Picnic (,rounds oi 1906-0- Fig _:. ." In a diar\ he 
kept during these years, Sloan recorded his impressions 
of the city; theentn tor February 1 j, 1906, reads: 


Fig. 23. John Sloan. Dolly with a Black Bow, 1907. Oil on 
canvas, 32 x 26 inches. Gift of Miss Amelia Elizabeth White, 
59 .i8. 

Fig. 24. Robert Henri. Sammy and His Mother, 1915. Oil on 
canvas, 32 x 26 inches. Promised gift of Mrs. Percy Uris, 

Walked through the interesting streets on the East 
Side. Saw a boy spit on a passing hearse, a shabby 
old hearse. Doorways of tenement houses, grimy 
and greasy door frames looking as though huge 
hogs covered with filth had worn the paint away 
and replaced it with matted dirt in going in and 
out. Healthy faced children, solid-legged, rich full 
color to their hair. Happiness rather than misery in 
the whole life. Fifth Avenue faces are unhappy in 
comparison. 19 

In his painting The Hawk ( Yolande in Large Hat) 
of 1910 (PI. 1), Sloan attempted to capture the qualities 
of the "very bright nervous bird-like young lady of 
seventeen years" 20 — the same qualities of spontaneity 
as Henri's Laughing Child. Although Sloan was drawn 
deeply into the politics of the Socialist Party for a period 
of seven or eight years before the country entered World 
War I, he kept his paintings unpolitical, believing that 

art and politics do not mix. Instead, he gave us joyous 
genre scenes of the camaraderie of working-class men 
and women. 21 

As they entered the second decade of the twentieth 
century, some of the New York realists tended toward 
expressions of elegance. Glackens, particularly, began 
to abandon the urban naturalism of the group and to 
fall more and more under the influence of French art. 
He visited France in 1906 and his Reclining Nude of 
1910 (Fig. 25) is more softly sensuous than the earlier 
works. In 1912 Glackens returned to Paris on a buying 
trip for Albert Barnes, and was introduced to the works 
of Renoir and Cezanne in the collections of Gertrude 
and Leo Stein. 22 Renoir, particularly, was to be a lasting 
influence on him. In his Girl in Black and White of 1914 
(Fig. 26), with its green tones in the shadowed part of 
the figure's face, Glackens has also attempted to model 
with color rather than tone as had the Fauve painters, 
whose works were exhibited at the Armory Show. 

Fig. 25. William J. Glackens. Reclining Nude, 1910. Oil on 
canvas, ^z 3 /4 x 5-4 inches. Gift of Charles Simon, 78.104. 

Henri in his portrait Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 
of 191 6 (PI. z) captures the art patron and sculptor 
reclining on a deep purple spread dressed in pale 
turquoise pantaloons and a loosely fitted royal blue and 
yellow jacket. The pose and the vibrant colors along 
with Henri's fluid elegance of brushwork reinforce an 
image of feminine modernity and sophistication dis- 
daining the conventional roles of an upper-class 

Within a few years after the 1913 Armory Show, 
Sloan also moved away from working-class subjects 
toward a self-conscious and idiosyncratic form of 
modernism which emphasized color. 23 George Luks, 
however, never broke his ties with New York urban 
subject matter. In private life a boisterous and heavy- 
drinking man, Luks painted characters who matched 
his own pugnacious vitality. In his Old Woman with 
White Pitcher of 1916 (Fig. 27), he applied paint 
directly and thickly; in his life-size painting Mrs. 
Gamley done in 1930 (PI. 3), the subject firmly controls 
her rooster, dominates her tidy kitchen, and challenges 
the viewer's notions of good taste. In Luks's paintings, 
personality rather than form manipulates the viewer's 

Fig. 1(1. William J. Glackens. C.irl in Black and White, 1914. 
Oil on canvas, 32 x 26 inches. Gift of the Glackens Family 

Edward Hopper studied with Henri and then made 
three long visits to Europe between 1906 and 1910, 
which strongly affected his subsequent development in 
art. Of the early realists he seems most concerned with 
problems of form, light, and design in the paintings 
done both in Paris and upon his return. In 1909 he 
painted Summer Interior (Fig. 28), a study of a nude 
seated on the floor staring at a patch of sunshine which 
falls next to her. The representation of light — including 
daylight falling into an interior or indoor illumination 
shining out into the darkness of the night — would 
become a major concern for Hopper and at times would 
shape the content of his realism, a tendency rarely 
characteristic of the Henri group. 24 Moreover, his 
figures, neither epic nor comic, would come to sym- 
bolize the pathos of the lonely existence of individuals 
in motels, all-night restaurants, and small town board- 
ing houses. Yet, whatever the subject, the viewer is 
always aware of Hopper's manipulation of form and 
light to create strong designs. 

Fig. 27. George Luks. Old Woman with White Pitcher, 7926. 
Oil on canvas, }0 x 25 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lesley G. 
Sheafer, <><;-45- 

Fig. 18. Edward Hopper. 

Summer Interior, /909. 

Oil on canvas, 14 x 29 inches. 

Bequest of Josephine N. Hopper, 70.1197 

Fig. 29. Arthur B. Dames. Crescendo, 1910. Oil on canvas, 
18 x 40 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney; 11.166. 

Early Twentieth-Century 
American Modernists 

In the first five years of the century, the modernist trends 
were barely known in America. Bernard Karfiol noted 
that when he returned home from Europe in 1903, "Art 
seemed dormant. The new movements were unknown 
or laughed at. A few Impressionists slipped through 
into American consciousness, but generally it was 
desert land. Once again I escaped to Paris, seething with 
activities, discussions and ideas." 25 But by 1908, how- 
ever, Fauvism and Cubism were becoming known in the 
art circles of New York. Stieglitz, whose role was crucial 
in introducing the French artists at his gallery, also 
exhibited the experimental work of younger American 
painters John Marin, Max Weber, Arthur G. Dove, 
Arthur B. Carles, Marsden Hartley, Oscar Bluemner, 
Georgia O'Keeffe, and Abraham Walkowitz between 
1909 and 1917. 26 Except for Walkowitz and Weber, 
none of the Stieglitz group of American painters during 
the time of their association with Stieglitz developed a 
figurative style, preferring to explore modernism within 
the modes of still life, landscape, and nature painting. 

The transition from late nineteenth-century 
academic art to twentieth-century modernism can be 
traced in paintings of the nude in the landscape, a theme 
which in Europe includes Puvis de Chavannes's murals 
as well as easel paintings by Cezanne, Derain, and 
Matisse.-' Americans made their own transition, less 
radically than the Europeans. In Arthur B. Davies's 
Crescendo of 1910 (Fig. 2,9), lithe female nudes mow- 

across a narrow ledge of meadow as twilight darkens 
the backdrop of mountains. Arcadian creatures only 
vaguely aware of each other's presence, they invoke a 
mood of elegiac reverie. Their limbs move randomly 
and lack purpose as their bodies form a frieze of 
artificial poses. 

Maurice Prendergast's The Promenade of [913 
(Fig. 30) contains nude and clothed figures in a painting 
that combines decorative qualities — the tapestry-like 

Fig. 1 Maurice Prendergast. The Promenade; 1913. Oil on 
canvas, jo * \4 inches. Bequest oj Alexander \\ Bmg, f>o.w 

Fig. 32. Arthur Crisp. Adam and Eve, c. 1918. Oil on plaster, 
11 x 30 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 31.256. 

patterning of the entire surface — with the mood of 
arcadia. In its simplification of form, tentative or 
unfinished quality of line, flattening of space, and 
patches of pure color, The Promenade finds its Eu- 
ropean counterpart, and perhaps even source, in the 
outdoor nudes by Fauves Derain, Vlaminck, and 
Matisse of the previous decade. 

Arthur Crisp's Adam and Eve of about 1918 
(Fig. 31) is a decorative oil on plaster with incised lines 
creating a linear style based on Greek vase painting. The 
subject evokes a mood of peaceful interlude with the 
couple fondling the apples from the tree of knowledge 
in disbelief of the cautionary gesture of the angel. 
Bernard Karfiol's painterly Boy Bathers of 1916 
(Fig. 32.) suggests a similar simplicity in its conscious 
awkwardness of anatomy, perspective, and paint han- 
dling. Studying in Paris right after the turn of the 
century, Karfiol exhibited several of his canvases at the 
Salon d'Automne of 1904. In Paris until 1906, he met 
Picasso, Matisse, and other leading avant-garde paint- 
ers in the homes of Gertrude and Leo Stein. He was thus 
aware of radical possibilities for handling the figure, but 
chose a less extreme style — a consciously artless style 
suggestive of innocence. 

What all four artists — Davies, Prendergast, Crisp, 
and Karfiol — share is their preoccupation with a figural 
and idealist subject matter denying the materialism of 
the modern age, including the buildup of World 
War I. They sought, then, sylphlike female nudes, 
summer promenades, Adam and Eve before knowledge 
and sin, and pubescent boys — boys too young for the 
responsibilities of an ever more complicated technolog- 
ical world. 

Cubism provided the structural grid by which 
Davies and Man Ray carried the nude form a further 
step toward decorative modernism. The new French 

Fig. t,i. Bernard Karfiol. Boy Bathers, 1916. Oil on canvas, 
18 x 36 inches. Purchase (and exchange), S4-'9- 

Cubist styles he saw at the Armory Show were "to mark 
a new departure" in the work of Man Ray, 28 who 
regularized and simplified the limbs, torsos, and heads 
of the nude forms in Five Figures of 19 14 (Pi. 4). 
Recalling Leger's early twentieth-century experiments 
with tubular figures, the languorous nudes in Five 
Figures tumble and roll toward the spectator; the color, 
however, is distinctly Man Ray's, with purples, oranges, 
and greens radiating multiple halos of color within and 
without the forms of the figures. Davies, by then also 
under the spell of Cubism, used faceted planes of pure 
color to define the over life-size figures in a large mural 
he completed in 191 5 called Dances (Detroit Institute of 
Arts). 29 The Whitney Museum's smaller version, called 
Day of Good Fortune (Fig. 33), was painted for Mrs. 
Lillie P. Bliss, later co-founder of the Museum of 
Modern Art. The romantic mood of Davies's earlier 
Crescendo has been replaced by an exuberant pattern of 
color wedges evoking the joyousness of pure dance. 
Whereas the twentieth-century American realists used a 
radical subject matter (urban, working-class life) in 
styles that were traditional (the painterly realism of 
Gustave Courbet and Wilhelm Leibl), Man Ray and 
Davies used a traditional subject (nudes) in styles that 
were boldly new. 

Traditional genre scenes were subjected to a 
modernist approach. William Zorach absorbed some of 
the Post-Impressionist styles when he studied in France. 
The Roof Playground, painted in 191 7 (Fig. 34), repre- 
sents a "cubist" boy, girl, and dog in the center of a witty 
composite of specific images of urban life, including the 
laundry billowing on a foreground clothesline. Max 
Weber went a step further and splintered facial features 
into shifting dynamic designs with Futurist overtones. 
Weber's Chinese Restaurant of 191 5 (Fig. 35) has lost 
almost all claims as a figurative genre painting, and yet 

Fig. 1 1. Arthur B. Davies. Day of Good Fortune, iyio. Oil 
on canvas, 18 x 30 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur G. 
Altschul, 71.118. 

Fig. 34. William Zorach. The Root Playground, /y;~. ( )il on 
canvas, 29X2? Va inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur G. 
Altschul. 71.2 ? ;. 

the fractured and refracted bits of eyes, brows, and 
noses which glimmer through the rich pattern oi 
Chinese red, black, and gold (the decor ol the restau- 
rant) give movement and a touch of humor to what 
everyone would recognize as a distinctly American 



Fig. }j. Max Weber. ( hinese Restaurant, 1915. Oili 
canvas, 40 * 48 inches Giftof Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 


New York Teaching Academies 
in the Post-World War I Years 

The majority of American art students in the immediate 
postwar years could not afford the expenses of a trip 
abroad, nor were they drawn to Paris and the art 
movements there. With a goal of achieving mastery in 
rendering the human form and control of the various 
techniques, most felt that the art training available in 
the New York art schools was perfectly adequate. Many 
therefore attended art classes at the National Academy 
of Design, the Art Students League, as well as the New 
York School of Art until its demise in 191 1, where they 
learned the basic rules of proportion, anatomy, perspec- 
tive, chiaroscuro, and the judicious layering of paint on 
a canvas surface. 

Of the three, most young artists considered the 
National Academy of Design the most conservative in 
terms of the styles of the instructors and teaching 
methods. Moreover, its reputation for turning down 
promising artists at its annual exhibitions gave it a bad 
name. Raphael Soyer, who attended the academy while 
working full time, vividly recalled the teachers on the 
faculty — Charles C. Curran, Francis C. Jones, and 
George W. Maynard — who used to visit the painting 
studios once or twice a week, but he "did not take their 
criticism seriously." 31 Young artists wanted not just 
instruction but sympathetic and vital mentors to serve 
as role models. They turned then to the New York 
School of Art, the Art Students League, and after 1917 
the Educational Alliance Art School on the lower East 
Side. 32 The New York School of Art, reorganized in 
1898, was the continuation of a school William Merritt 
Chase had established in 1896 and which he continued 
to head for the following eleven years. Robert Henri 
taught there from 1902 to the end of 1908, and Kenneth 
Hayes Miller taught from 1899 to 191 1. 33 Chase was a 
man of the nineteenth century; Henri inspired the early 
twentieth-century realists; Miller, including the years he 
taught at the Art Students League, influenced many 
artists right up through the 1940s. Rockwell Kent, in his 
autobiography, characterized the differences among the 
three teachers: 

As Chase had taught us just to use our eyes, and 
Henri to enlist our hearts, now Miller called on us 
to use our heads. Utterly disregardful of the 
emotional values which Henri was so insistent 
upon, and contemptuous of both the surface 

realism and virtuosity of Chase, Miller, an Artist in 
a far more precious sense than either, exacted a 
recognition of the tactile qualities of paint and of 
the elements of composition — line and mass — not 
as a means toward the re-creation of life but as the 
fulfillment of an end, aesthetic pleasure. To trans- 
late this into terms of literature, he stressed the 
sound of words, the cadence and the rhythm of a 
line, as though regardless of their meaning or their 
truth. . . . Yet the importance of style as intrinsic to 
the expression of thought is undeniable; and 
Miller's emphasis upon some of its elements was of 
value to me if for no reason but as a corrective of 
Henri's disregard of it. 34 

At the Art Students League, which he joined in 
191 1, Miller found the atmosphere congenial. He 
taught there from 191 1 until 193 1, again from 1932 to 
1936, and from 1944 to 1951. Instructors then, as now, 
could work in any style and had complete freedom in 
terms of teaching method. Students could sign up for 
study at any time during the year, paying tuition on a 
monthly basis. There were no attendance records, no 
grades, no entrance requirements. 35 Miller's students at 
the New York School and at the League included these, 
all represented in the collection of the Whitney Mu- 
seum: Edmund Archer, Peggy Bacon, George Bellows, 
Isabel Bishop, Arnold Blanch, Alexander Brook, Adolf 
Dehn, John Graham, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hop- 
per, Rockwell Kent, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Edward Laning, 
Reginald Marsh, Katherine Schmidt, Henry Schnaken- 
berg, and Robert Vickrey. Paul Cadmus was not a 
student but an admirer who shared with Miller a 
fondness for the tempera technique. 36 

What appealed to Miller's students was his sense of 
mission "to keep Art alive," because Miller shared with 
the modernists a concern for form. Lloyd Goodrich, a 
former student, described the basis of Miller's art: 

To Miller the basis of all enduring art was the 
creation of three-dimensional design by the physi- 
cal means of form, space, color and texture. In his 
austere concentration of these essentials, he was 
never diverted by superficial qualities. In a painting 
by him all the forms are round, realized from every 
side as by a sculptor, and situated in deep space; 
but they are the forms of art, and not imitated nat- 
ural forms; the integrity of the picture plane is pre- 
served, and the painting speaks in a purely sensu- 
ous language. Color, while having its own value, is 

Painting, !•>■ 

an instrument to create form and spat e. I very part 

of the picture has a conscious relation to every 
other part; and dominating all is a deeply felt and 
pondered conception of the harmony of the 
whole. . . . His art is essentially classic in its order, 
balance and sense of solidarity with the past. His 
peculiar combination of naturalism and classicism 
will, I believe, be valued more and more as the 
years pass. 


However, Miller's "peculiar combination of 
naturalism and classicism" characteristic of the 1920s 
has not yet been revived; nor are critics today as 
generous to Miller's art and to Miller's modernism as 
Goodrich was in 1953. Nevertheless, Miller does seem 
to have the distinction of being one of the last of the 
great teachers who, by emulating the Old Masters, tried 
to bridge the gap between the Renaissance and Baroque 
masters and the moderns. 38 

Other painters who taught at the League and who 
were among those closely associated with Mrs. Whit- 
ney, Mrs. Force, the Whitney Studio Galleries, the 
Whitney Studio Club, and later the Whitney Museum 
of American Art were Eugene Speicher, teaching from 
1908 to 191} and 1919 to 1920; Robert Henri from 1916 
to 1928; John Sloan from 1916 to 1924, from 1926 to 
1930, and again from 1935 to l 93&i Allen Tucker, from 
1921 to 1928; Guy Pene du Bois from 1920 to 1924, 
from 1930 to 1932, and 1935 to 1936; Henry Schnak- 
enberg from 1923 to 1925; Thomas Hart Benton from 
1926 to 1935; Yasuo Kuniyoshi from 1933 to 1953; 39 
and Peggy Bacon in 1935 and again from 1949 to 
195 1. 40 

The Studio Picture 

During the 1920s and 1930s many of the artists 
associated with Mrs. Whitney's endeavors chose as 
their principal genre "studio pictures" — either still lifes 
containing studio props, or figure compositions of 
posed nude or clothed figures. In the late nineteenth and 
early twentieth century John Sloan, like Degas and 
Forain, had done "slice of life" close-up views of a 
person (usually a working-class woman) caught un- 
awares in the act of bathing, dressing, or undertaking a 
domestic chore. The studio picture, however, depicts 
models, either friends or hired professionals, repre- 
sented as models, with their heads turned and limbs 

arranged to make .1 pleasing composition. I lure is no 
pretense that the figures are acting out a life situation 

other than the reading and daydreaming whieh posed 
models do as an antidote to boredom. It is, in fact, an art 
school situation re-created in the painter's own studio. 
Milton W. Brown in American Painting from the 
Armory Sh< lie to the Depression refers to the "studio 
group" painters as "middle-of-the-road" anists, tor as a 
group they neither embraced the extreme styles of 
modernism nor were the) drawn to depict the t) pica! 
situations of American life, brown has singled out fules 
Pascin, Bernard Karfiol, Alexander Brook, I mil Ganso, 
and Yasuo Kuniyoshi tor mention." ( )ther studio figure 
artists in the Whitney Museum's collection would 
include Arnold Blanch, Lucile Blanch, Adolphe Bone. 
Leon Kroll, Henry Schnakenberg, Eugene Speicher, and 
Moses, Raphael, and Isaac Soyer. 

Jules Pascin, a Bulgarian-born, German-trained 
Francophile of cosmopolitan ways but eccentric be- 
havior, made a strong impression on the studio group. a 
From 1914 to 1920 he lived in the United States with 
trips to the South, C uba, and the ( aribbean, even 
acquiring U.S. citizenship before leaving for Paris. 
When he returned to New York for a stay which lasted 
from August 1927 to June 1928, his style in his oil 
paintings had matured to one which combined nervous 
and wispy lines with large patches of softly modulated 
and barely modeled color. His favorite subjects were 
lounging female figures — neither totally nude nor 
dressed, neither girls nor quite women, but softly erotic 
creatures suggesting the demimonde world which fas- 
cinated Pascin. Raphael Soyer recalls that Pascin was 
then very popular among younger anists; Peggy Bacon, 
Alexander Brook, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Walt Kuhn 
"were all taken by Pascin." Although So\er never met 
Pascin, he was influenced by Pascin's work to hire his 
first model. 11 

Both Emil Ganso 's Gertie of about 1928 (Fig. 36) 
and Alexander Brook's Girl with Flower of 1930 
(Fig. 37) reveal the influence of Pascin's st\ le, where the 
tentative qualities of individual draftsmanship and 
modeling are less relevant than the overall harmonious 
effect and the romantic mood of reverie. Bj compari- 
son, Henry Schnakcnhcrg's painterl) naturalism m his 
( Conversation of 1930 (Fig. 38) has little of Pascin's 
poetry; and Leon kroll's Nude in a Blue ( 'hair, also of 
[9 ;o (PI. 5), presents a solid!) rendered, sculpturesque 

YaSUO Kuniyoshi's change ol st\ le alter his en- 
counter with Pascin is probabl) the most dramatic 



^A «r 7^ ^^ ^P^HHj^k 

l^N .Jfc 

t : 


■ \ rm."' 



w «• 


Kuniyoshi's Child of 1923 (Fig. 40) was doubtless 
painted from imagination and inspired by folk art, not 
yet a vogue among American collectors. The painting 
has both a naive and a cubist quality: earth tones, an 
archaizing emphasis on discrete parts, clarity of outline, 
arbitrary modeling, and depth barely suggested by 
overlapping forms rather than linear perspective. In his 
I'm Tired of 1938 (Fig. 41) the style has shifted to a 
painterly mode with indefinite contours, a gray-toned 

counterclockwise starting upper left: 

Fig. 36. Emil Ganso. Gertie, c. 1928. Oil on canvas, 40 x 34 
inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 31.20 j. 

Fig. 37. Alexander Brook. Girl with Flower, 1930. Oil on 
canvas, 34 x 26 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Fig. 38. Henry Schnakenherg. Conversation, 1930. Oil on 
canvas, so V<\ x 36 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whit- 
ney, 31.338. 

Painting, iyoo- i<j 4 73 

pallor, and a scumbled background; the mood has 
changed from the humor ot the aged child holding a 
woman's hat to the ennui of the frowsy female, listlessly 
reading her newspaper. Similar in tone and mood to I'm 
Tired is Isabel Bishop's Nude, a studio work ot 19 }4 
(Fig. 42). Brown has pointed out that "the studio 
picture in its modern form had its origin in the 
nineteenth century as one reflection of the artist's 
increasing isolation from normal social relation- 
ships." 44 Perhaps, then, the pale colors and indefinite 

countert lockunse starting upper left: 

Fig. }5>. Eugene Speicher. FiraBarchak, 1919. Oil on canvas, 
64 -41 inches. Gift <>/ Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney \ >jfl 

Fig. 40. Yasuo Kuniyoshi. t hild, 192 f. Oil on canvas, 
30 x 24 inches. Gift of Mrs. / dith Gregor Halpert, jj.i. 

Fig. 41. Yasuo Kuniyoshi. I'm tired, 1938. Oil on canvas, 
40V4 x ?j inches. Purchase, ;<;./.:. 

Fig. 42. Isabel Bishop. Nude, 1934. Oil on composition board, 33 x 40 inches. Purchase, 34.11. 

contours in these paintings by Kuniyoshi and Bishop 
reflect the absence of dynamic social interaction of the 
studio life. 

Portraits in the 1920s and 1930s 

From our vantage point, we can see that from the 
mid-i920S to the 1930s a general change of style 
occurred, which can be seen not only in the studio 
picture but in portraiture and American Scene painting 
as well. The 1920s figure compositions of John Graham 
and Arshile Gorky, who have usually been studied in 
terms of the history of modernist art, share certain style 
qualities with those of Kuniyoshi's early paintings, as 
well as with each other. In both Graham's Head of a 

Woman of 1926 (Fig. 43) and Gorky's The Artist and 
His Mother of 1926- 29 (Pi. 6), the dark-haired, 
white-skinned figures have definitely demarcated facial 
features; overall, black predominates, patterns are 
emphatic, and shaded areas are sensed as shapes rather 
than as space definers. In short — and this was the 
legacy of modernism (and more immediately perhaps 
the influence of Picasso) — the individuality in 1920s 
figurative art is conveyed through clarity of shape and 
patterns, and it is the artist's individual design that 

During the 1930s, however, many artists rebelled 
against the formal values of modernism. Subject be- 
came primary over style, and naturalism rather than 
design became the preoccupation of artists. This de- 
scribes the figurative painting in the Whitney Museum's 

Fig. 43. John D. Graham. Head of a Woman, 1926. Oil on 
canvas, 22 x 18 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Fig. 4 s. Bradley Walker Tomlin. Self-Portrait, /<; } 2. ( );/ on 
canvas, 17 x 14 inches. Gift of Henry Ittleson, jr., f $.28. 

collection, including the portraits; compare, for in- 
stance, Ernest Fiene's stunningly designed Concetto 
of 192.6 (Fig. 44) or Luigi Lucioni's/o of 19^). 
with Bradley Walker Tomlin's pleasantly 
naturalistic Self-Portrait of 1932 (Fig. 45) or Edmund 
Archer's Howard Patterson of the "Harlem Yankees" 
of 1940. In general, the artists' palettes in the [930s 
make use of the full range of the color wheel with 
browns used for shadows; the concern for full three- 
dimensional illusionism sometimes sacrifices two- 
dimensional design, and the touch is a dry painterly one 
with none of the wet into wet strokes of the earlier 
realists. It may he that in the [930s figure artists who 
wanted to express their concern forhumanit) found 
naturalism more appropriate than stylization. Indeed, 
naturalism became the "styleless" style. 

Fig. 44. F.rnest Fiene. Concern. k>i6. Oil on can 

40V4 x jo 1 4 inches. Gift <>/ Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 



American Scene Painting 

During the 1920s and 1930s many figurative artists, not 
satisfied with the limited repertory of nudes and studio 
subjects, began to search for rural and urban subjects 
which would express their feelings about living in 
America. The motives were mixed: some were in 
reaction to the modernism of Europe; others were 
probing the American past for subjects and an iconog- 
raphy they could use in the present. Back at their easels 
they painted from memory, from sketches, and some- 
times even hired models as an aid for the poses. The 
term "American Scene" has been given to these genre 
paintings that capture the daily lives of rural or urban 
Americans without bearing a message of protest against 
the economic and social condition of these "ordinary" 
Americans. In other words, American Scene painters 
assumed a neutrality toward social mores and eco- 
nomic values; when the painters' values do emerge, they 
tend to emphasize the positive qualities of living on the 
American land or within American society. In contrast, 
Social Realism was critical of the sources and causes of 
social and economic inequalities. If the term "American 
Scene" as a catchall definition has usefulness, it is in 
distinguishing the optimistic genre scenes from the 
moralizing, partisan painting called Social Realism. 45 

In terms of style, remarks can be made similar to 
those made about the studio pictures and portraits. 
Many American Scene figurative paintings of the 1920s 
have the mannered look of an aesthetic based on 
machine forms, with smoothly brushed, tubular limbs 
and regularized oval heads, and with props and furnish- 
ings decoratively and repetitively patterned, similar to 
the Art Deco architectural decoration which came into 
vogue in the late 1920s. Although many mural artists 
continued this mannered style into the late 1930s, when 
they found inspiration in the simplified, monumental 
forms of Diego Rivera, or even Giotto, the majority of 
1930s easel painters turned to a more painterly 
naturalist style which at times even verged on calli- 
graphic caricature. In terms of generalizations (which 
run the risk of being oversimplifications), if Guy Pene 
du Bois and Kenneth Hayes Miller characterize the 
1920s, then Raphael Soyer and Reginald Marsh would 
represent the 1930s. 

Guy Pene du Bois spent the late 1920s in France, 
where he painted Opera Box (Fig. 47), a recollection of 
his frequent attendance as a music critic at Metropoli- 
tan Opera performances. 48 Du Bois emphasized less the 
nationality than the haughty attitude of the sleek 

Fig. 46. Walt Kuhn. The Blue Clown, 193 1. Oil on canvas, 
30 x 25 inches. Purchase, 3 2.25 . 

short-coiffed, wealthy matron who looks down at the 
performance from her box. Du Bois could appreciate 
the patrons of culture, as he did Mrs. Whitney, with 
whom he had a close relationship, but he could also 
satirize them as in his Woman with Cigarette of 1929 
(Fig. 48). 

A contrast to du Bois's cultured matrons are 
Miller's passive, dumpy, Fourteenth Street urban con- 
sumers. Miller's 1928 painting Shopper (Fig. 49) de- 
picts an overweight cloche-hatted matron in sale-day 
specials, fondling the head of her umbrella. Miller 
admired the Italian Quattrocento with its rounded, 
idealized monumental forms, and he himself carefully 
constructed a bas-relief space within his paintings. To 
today's viewer, however, the historically inspired style 
seems inappropriate, perhaps absurd, not because of 
the shopper's ordinariness, but because Miller has made 
her pathetically passive toward the merchandizing 
environment which communicates mercantile rather 
than spiritual or humanist values. 47 On the other hand, 
the same monumentalizing style, used in Daniel Celen- 

Painting, i>> / 

Fig. 47. Guy Pene du Bois. Opera Box, 7926. Oil on canvas, 
57 V2 x 4JV4 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 


Fig. 49. Kenneth Hayes Miller. Shopper, i$z8. ( hi on 
canvas, 41 x 33 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt \\ hitney, 

tano's much later painting of 1937, The I irst Horn 
(Fig. 50), seems suited to a message affirming famil) 
values, with overtones that are religious as well. In 
Celentano's work, the young parents present their first 
male child to his grandmother, thereby confirming the 
continuity of the generations. 

Thomas Han Benton's The I ord Is My Shepherd 
of 192.6 (Fig. 5 1), depicting an elderly couple quietly 
finishing their meal, also reaffirms traditional religious 
values. The artist's neo-Baroque style magnifies the 
large hands of the pair, their furrowed faces and 
ill-fitting clothes. Work, rest, and prayer form the cycle 
of the couple's daily routine. The trained motto on the 
wall, from which the title comes, is the first line ol the 

Fig. 48 Guy Pene du Bois. Woman with C igarette, 1929. ( )// 
on canvas, )6V* ■ z8 '4 inches. < Vtfl of < lertrude Vanderbilt 
Whitney, 11.187. 

Fig. 50. Daniel R. Celentano. The First Born, 1937. Oil on 
canvas, 16 x 24 inches. Purchase, 37.38. 

Fig. 51. Thomas Hart Benton. The Lord Is My Shepherd, 
1926. Tempera on canvas, 34V* x 27 Vi inches. Gift of 
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 31.100. 

popular Twenty-third Psalm, a song of faith in a world 
of potential adversity and corrupting values. 

Artists with widely divergent political and social 
philosophies painted the American scene. Rockwell 
Kent, an outspoken artist with socialist leanings, 
painted The Trapper in 1921 (PI. 7), representing the 
solitary work of a trapper when the winter light 
transforms the snow-covered mountains into an eerie 
landscape of isolated forms. Gifford Beal, whose ap- 
proach was less lyrical, focused on the harpoonist in 
Fisherman of 1928 (Fig. 52), tensely poised for the 
downward thrust of his weapon. The individual 
heroism of these men is Emersonian, consisting of their 
ability to wage lonely battles to capture the bounty of 

George Bellows painted a topical scene, Dempsey 
and Firpo, in 1924 (Fig. 53), based on the famous title 
fight between Jack Dempsey and Luis Firpo of Argen- 
tina on September 14, 1923. His style is here more linear 
and monumental than his boxing pictures of the first 
decade, such as Stag at Sharkey's of 1906 (The Cleve- 
land Museum of Art). The smoothly painted forms 
stand starkly silhouetted against the darkened room. 
Luis Firpo's powerful triangular form controls the 
composition; the ropes of the ring give definition to the 
space and stabilize the sudden movement of Dempsey 
falling into the audience. Unlike the earlier versions of 
fighters, which stressed the raw physicality of both the 
boxers and paint, Firpo has control and cunning as well 
as physical strength. In the actual fight, Dempsey 
returned to the ring to beat the Argentinean. 48 

As the 1920s turned into the 1930s the clarity of the 
forms of Miller, Bellows, and du Bois gave way to the 
more painterly mode of American Scene naturalism. 
John Steuart Curry finished Baptism in Kansas of 1928 
(Fig. 54) in time to be exhibited at the Corcoran 
Gallery's Biennial. The painting has a congested 
composition and an almost haphazard patterning of the 
faces in the crowd — qualities reminding us of early 
Sloan or Luks. Reviewing the Corcoran show, New 
York Times art critic Edward Alden Jewell praised what 
he interpreted as social satire: 

His "Baptism in Kansas" is a gorgeous piece of 
satire, and . . . admirably composed. Religious 
fanaticism of the hinterlands saturates the scene, 
only inanimate nature looking on as with a smile of 
cynical coolness. Yonder are some big barns and an 
impartial windmill. In the centre foreground is one 
of those circular watering troughs, consecrated 

Fig. 52. Gifford Beat. Fisherman, 1928. Oil on canvas, 
36V2 x 48V2 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

now to the ceremonies attaching to immersion. 
Knee-deep stand the parson and his trembling 
neophyte, a woman with rather wild eyes, who 
knows full well that the mystical waters will soon 
cover her. A stirred company surrounds this 
impending climax, its more musically inclined 

Painting, 1900-1-1 . 79 

members smgmg .1 hymn. < Overhead 1 louds seem 
stricken with Otltologii al portent, and two other- 
wise quite ordinary farmyard doves snoop like 
symbols straight from the Apocalypse. I inally, on 
all sides spread the flat Kansas prairies. , 

Although Jewell saw the work as satire, it has not 
always been interpreted as such. 

Thomas Craven was the most vigorous critic 
promoting American Scene naturalism and castigating 
those artists who looked to Europe for their st\ Its. In his 
book Modern Art of 1934 he cited the artists working in 
the art colonies of Woodstock, Provincetown, and 
Santa Fe as negative examples: 

Working in typically American —in unique 
environments —but working servilely from Eu- 
ropean forms and without organic interest in their 
subjects, these rustic Bohemians produce only 
imitations. Even the local color escapes them. The 
American scene is perverted into a technical pat- 
tern. Instead of surrendering to the scene and 
allowing it to modify the pattern, they impose an 

Fig. n. George Bellows. Dempsey and Firpo, 1924. Oil 

on canvas, si x 65 V4 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 31.95. 

Fig. 54. John Stenart Curry. Baptism in Kansas, 1928. Oil on 
canvas, 40 x 50 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

imported pattern on indigenous materials, with the 
result that the New Mexican desert resembles the 
Provenqal landscape of Cezanne, and the Indian is 
chopped into the cubes and cones of Paris.™ 

To Craven, then, form was secondary to subject matter 
and content, as he advocated a distinctly nationalistic 
art. To him, only "when life, American life, develops in 
painters, interests stronger than the interests aroused by 
canonized art, we may hope for a native American 
school." 51 

In the 1930s, many artists considered style differ- 
ences of less importance than social and political 

attitudes. Some artists were drawn to the camp of the 
Regionalists, such as Benton, Curry, and Grant Wood, 
who focused on farm and small town living; others 
were attracted to the ideas of the Social Realists who 
painted the urban environment, with its scenes of 
workers and their camaraderie and hardships. To the 
first group, nationalism was esteemed; to the second, 
nationalism was a distraction — diverting the attention 
of people away from the class struggle. The polarization 
was brought about by the conditions of the Great 
Depression, which tended to politicize artists toward a 
mixture of populism, Jeffersonian agrarianism, and 
traditional individualism, as in the case of Benton, 52 or 
toward the Left (Socialism and Communism). 

Painting, i <> > ■ Hi 

The Depression and the 
Government Art Projects 

Times were indeed hard. Artists who had previously 
enjoyed a steady patronage from galleries and private 
collectors could no longer sell their paintings; other 
artists, particularly younger ones who had pieced 
together a subsistence wage from odd jobs, found 
themselves out of work. Although the unemployed in 
early 1930 was still less than ten percent of the work 
force, by 1933 it was over twenty-five percent, or 
roughly fifteen million people. 53 Norman Barr, an artist 
who lived through it, recently recalled the period: 

7b understand fully the meaning of the "( ireat 
Depression" of the thirties, one must go heyond 
the statistics. . . . To recall the "Hoovernllcs," 
shanties built of cardboard, pieces of tin, wooden 
planks, etc. all along the Hudson, Harlem and East 
Rivers, housing thousands of ill-clad, half-starvnig 
people is to relive a nightmare. Especially, if you 
were one of them. " >4 

By the end of 1 93 1 two projects had been estab- 
lished in New York State to give work and relief to 
artists: The Temporary Emergency Relief Administra- 
tion (TERA) began by employing fifteen artists as 
teachers in thirteen arts centers in New York City; the 
program expanded to help 393 artists throughout the 
state. Meanwhile, the College Art Association estab- 
lished its own modest work relief program under the 
direction of Audrey McMahon and her assistant Fran- 
cis Pollak. Both projects lasted until 1935 when they 
were consolidated under the Works Progress Adminis- 
tration. 55 

In December 1933, the Public Works of Art Project 
was inaugurated as part of the U.S. Treasury Depart- 
ment under the direction of Edward Bruce. In its brief 
seven months of operation, the PWAP national pro- 
gram employed 3,749 persons. In New York, the 
Whitney Museum's Juliana Force was the Regional 
Director of the PWAP, guided by a committee ot other 
museum directors including Alfred Barr of the Museum 
of Modern Art. In 1934 Edward Bruce headed the 
newly created Treasury Section of Painting and 
Sculpture which awarded commissions for murals and 
sculpture in post offices and public buildings. The 
Section, which lasted until 1943, was not primarily a 
relief organization, and mural commissions were 

aw arded on the basis ot merit rather than need. I he 
treasury Department also created the Ircasurv Relief 
Art Projeci ( I RAP), which operated between [935 and 
[938 and did require a percentage ot its artists to be 
certified tor relief. 

The most important project, the Works Progress 
Administration, however, did us employee rolls on 
need. Sit up m r.935 ,ls an independent organization 
with four cultural pro)ccts — An, Musk, I heater, and 
Writers — it lasted until 1 94 ; with Holgcr ( ahill as 
National Director. In New York ( it\ Andres McMa- 
hon became Regional Director for the federal Art 
Project in charge of easel paintings, graphics, the Index 
of American Design, motion pictures, murals, photo 
graphs, posters, and sculptures. In [936, the W 'PA, I AP 
was employing some five thousand artists across tin- 

With all this activity ot artists being employed, laid 
off, shifted to other agencies and projects, and reem- 
ployed, the more militant left-wing artists found it 
necessary to organize themselves collectively. In Sep- 
tember 1933, twenty-five artists formed the Emergency 
Work Bureau Artists Group; their group grew into the 
Artists' Union by May 1934, which led to a number of 
demonstrations, sit-down strikes, and protests regard- 
ing the periodic bureaucratic cutbacks which continu- 
ously threatened the relief programs. 58 In the fall of 
1934, the Artists' Union along with the militant Artists 
Committee ot Action jointly began publishing Art 
Eront, a feisty left-wing monthly magazine that ran 
through December 1937. 57 

The articles in Art Eront, regularly written bj 
people as diverse as Clarence Weinstock, Stuart \^a\ is, 
Louis Lozowick, Moses Soyer, Meyer Schapiro, ( har- 
mion Von Wicgand, and Elizabeth McCausland using 
the pseudonym Elizabeth Noble), often addressed 
social issues and appealed to artists to respond to the 
worker's needs. Paintings should not only be about the 
lives of the working classes but be for them as well. 
The) argued also tor a municipal art center to be 
available to all groups tor teaching and exhibitions. 

When Time magazine, in us December 14, [934, 
issue, declared that the American Scene painters Ben- 
ton, Wood, C urry, (. harles Burchfield, and Reginald 
Marsh were "destined to turn the tide of artistic taste in 
the U.S.," :,h Stuart Davis, then editor-in-chief of Irt 
Front, reacted in the January 1935 issue with outraged 
hostility toward American Scene painting w Inch he felt 
sentimentalized povertj or glorified rural and urban 
Stereotypes. To socially concerned artists the phrase 


"American Scene" became anathema. Moses Soyer, in a 
January 1935 review of the Second Biennial Exhibition 
at the Whitney Museum (November 27, 1934 - 
January 10, 1935), spoke for many when he implored: 

Artists, therefore, should not be misled by the 
chauvinism of the 'Taint America" slogan. Yes, 
paint America, but with your eyes open. Do not 
glorify Main Street. Paint it as it is — mean, dirty, 
avaricious. Self-glorification is artistic suicide. 
Witness Nazi Germany. M 

Soyer asserted that in the Whitney Museum's exhibition 
the paintings with social content "dominated the more 
conventional paintings that surround them. Laning's 
rather obvious composition of a worker bearing upon 
his shoulders a priest, a capitalist and a militarist — 
figures symbolizing the ruling class — Shahn's seedy 
'Pillars of Society,' Curry's dramatic 'Lynching,' 
Hoffman's poignant 'Death of a Miner' and Cikovsky's 
sad 'Homeless Men' stand out." Soyer ended the review 
by concluding that "a spirit of youth and vigor" marked 
the show. 60 

In an April 1936 review of a Whitney Museum 
exhibition, Joe Solman was less charitable: "We can 
only conclude that, for continued allegiance to stale 
Americana and to old museum favorites, it was a typical 
Whitney show." 61 

Solman's remark characterizes a continuous series 
of swipes at the Whitney Museum regarding its Annual 
or Biennial offerings. However, Third Biennial Exhibi- 
tion (November 10- December 10, 1936) included 
Raphael Soyer's Office Girls (PI. 8). Soyer rendered a 
slice of the city's life with three young women clutching 
their handbags and hurrying along a busy sidewalk. 
One wide-eyed blond woman looks directly at the 
viewer, while an older man looks over her shoulder. The 
figures are not distant from us, as in Sloan's Picnic- 
Grounds, but placed close to the picture plane. They 
inhabit the artist's world in a real sense — figures he 
knew, neither passive and depressed nor idealized as 
spontaneous and childlike, but as firmly resolved to get 
on with the work of their lives. Raphael Soyer used a 
Ben Shahn photograph for the background (the Bowery 
eating house with the day's menu on display) in his 
painting Reading from Left to Right of 1938 (Fig. 55). 
Inspired by the captions of newspaper society photo- 
graphs, Soyer found the title ironic, for these men, the 
unemployed of 1930s American society, would not be 
found on the "society page" of a newspaper. 62 In these 

Fig. 55. Raphael Soyer. Reading from Left to Right, 1938. 
Oil on canvas, 26 V4 x 20V4 inches. Gift of Mrs. Emil J. 
Arnold in memory of Emil J. Arnold and in honor of Lloyd 
Goodrich, 74.3. 

Fig. 56. Isaac Soyer. Employment Agency, 1937. Oil on 
canvas, 34 V4 x 45 inches. Purchase, 37.44. 

two works, Soyer moves beyond the pathos of indi- 
viduals living in hard times to make a statement about 
society at large, about a class of people affected by the 
specific circumstances of their time. 

Painting, 190 

Fig. s?- Katherine Schmidt. Broe and McDonald Listen In, 
79 $7. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches. Purchase (and ex- 
change), 50.15. 

Isaac Soyer, Raphael's brother, painted Employ- 
ment Agency in 1937 (Fig. 56). A black woman and two 
white men patiently but dejectedly await their interview 
or news of a job, while another reads the daily 
newspaper. They have no place to go. Isaac Soyer tells 
us that unemployment is a condition with neither sex 
nor race bias. Katherine Schmidt's Broeand McDonald 
Listen In, also of 1937 (Fig. 57), depicts alert and 
concerned working-class men sitting in a diner. The 
painting calls to mind Clifford Odets's topical one- act 
play Waiting for Lefty of [935, about men whose lives 
are sketched on the stage while they wait for their 
leader, the labor organizer. The styles of all three 
artists — Raphael Soyer, Isaac Soyer, and Katherine 
Schmidt — are painterly but solid; inhabiting a convinc- 
ing three-dimensional space, the figures are pushed to 
the front of the picture plane to impress upon the viewer 
their immediacy and personal relevance. 

Reginald Marsh, an illustrator and an admirer ot 
Kenneth Hayes Miller, worked more eclectically. Many 
of his works are similar to Twenty Cent Movie of [936 
(Fig. 58), with a nervous calligraphic line creating a 
busy surface to the tempera painting; other Marsh 
paintings, such as Why Not Use the "L"? of 1930 
(Fig. 59), have the solid rendering of form similar to the 
Soyers' naturalist style. 

Fig. $8. Reginald Marsh. Twenty Cent Movie, 1936. Egg 
tempera on composition board, io X40 inches. Purchase, 


Fig. $•<). Reginald Marsh. Why Not Use the "1 "? 19 io. Egg 
tempera on canvas. 56 • 48 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vandet 
bill Whitney, 11.293. 

Man) American figure paintings had specific refer- 
ences to the imperialism of the Fascisi movement in 
Europe. Paul Cadmus's Sailors and I hosies, painted in 
1938 (Fig. 60) and shown in the \\ hitnc\ Museum 
Annual that year, was criticized for its bawdiness bj 
Navy officials when exhibited during the summer of 
1940 at the Treasure Island Palace of Fine Arts at the 
Golden date 1 xposition. 63 c admus, a self-conscious 
moralist, defended his satire: 

Fig. 60. Paul Cadmus. Sailors and Floosies, 1938. Oil and tempera on composition board, 
25 x 39 V2 inches. Anonymous gift (subject to life interest), 64.42. 

/ believe that art is not only more true but also 
more living and vital if it derives its immediate 
inspiration and its outward form from contempor- 
ary life. The actual contact with human beings 
who are living and dying, working and playing, 
exercising all their f mictions and passions, demon- 
strating the heights and depths of man's nature, 
gives results of far greater significance than those 
gained by isolation, introspection or subjective 
contemplation of inanimate objects. Entering the 
world of human beings plunges one immediately 
into a mixture of emotions, thoughts and actions, 
some pleasant, some disturbing; but whether 
uplifting or disgusting, these reactions spring from 
a vital source. 64 

The painting portrays the desperately hedonistic revels 
of sailors and a marine in Riverside Park, while 
reminding us, by including the front page of the Daily 
News, that Mussolini's aggressive war policies had 
resulted in three thousand killed in an air raid. The 
scene becomes more poignant in retrospect when we 
realize that the lusty sailors would be shipped off within 
a few years. 

Social Realism 

Social Realism emerged in the mid-1950s not as a style 
but as an attitude toward the role of art in life. In 1925, 
Louis Lozowick stated his humanist belief that "the 
function of art, before it disappears, is not to decorate 

or beautify life but to transform and organize it." 65 Like 
Lozowick, the Social Realists were vociferously left 
wing; they did not want to settle for a mere portrayal of 
the individual lives of working people with their dignity 
and limitations, but hoped in their art to promote class 
consciousness and social change. 66 To them, collective 
goals and collective betterment were more important 
than individual goals. As a group, their works were not 
pretty. They did not indiscriminately glorify either 
individual labor or collective work, and in this respect 
they differed from both the American Regionalists and 
the advocates of Socialist Realism as it was developing 
in the Soviet Union. 67 

Louis Ribak's Home Relief Station of 1935- 36 
(Fig. 61) depicts a huddled mass of people of all races 
and ages sitting on wooden benches in a large room 
while they wait their turn for their interviews. The scene 
is grim; the joking policemen are grotesquely rendered 
caricatures. Julius Bloch's The Lynching of 1932 
(Fig. 62) represents a black man crucified on a tree, 
while a cluster of evil faces surround the base of the 
tree. 68 These paintings were well-intentioned attempts 
to arouse feelings of outrage against a demeaning 
welfare establishment and racist society, and yet both 
works have a timidity which makes them less successful 
than the social protest paintings by Philip Evergood, 
Ben Shahn, and Jack Levine or the forceful graphics of 
Robert Minor and William Gropper. Indeed, many 
well-intentioned liberal humanists focused on the indi- 
vidual oppression or on the pathos of the "suffering 
masses." While Communist Party ideologues argued for 
an art that would show workers as a class fighting back 

Fig. 61. Louis Ribak. Home Relief Station, ;<; ? f-36. ( )il on 

canvas, 2H x }6 inches. Purchase, $6,148. 

against their capitalist oppressors, few artists, for fear of 
indulging in "propaganda," produced a revolutionary 
painting. To most artists with strong feelings against 
oppression it was enough of a challenge to make a 
visual statement that would carry punch; their goal was 
to make an effective contrast between rich and poor, 
between the powerful and the powerless, between a 
vision of freedom and the reality of bondage, between 
the promise of equality and the raw facts of racism, 
bigotry, and oppression. 

Ben Shahn found a politically relevant subject in 
the saga of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, 
Italian immigrants arrested for robbing and killing a 
paymaster and his guard at a shoe company in South 
Braintree, Massachusetts, on April 1 5, iQ20. fi9 Evidence 
against the two was largely circumstantial, but it was a 
period of anti-radical hysteria, both Sacco and Vanzetti 
were anarchists, and they were carrying firearms when 
arrested. The presiding judge, Webster Thayer, seemed 
unduly biased; evidence appeared to be flimsy and Felix 
Frankfurter was moved to write critically of the pro- 
ceedings in the Atlantic Monthly in March 1927. When 
public outcries demanded a new trial, Massachusetts 
Governor Alvan T Fuller appointed Harvard President 
A. Lawrence Lowell, M.I.T President Samuel W. 
Stratton, and Judge Robert Grant to advise him on the 
matter. The Lowell Committee ruled against the ac- 
cused; they were executed on August 2.2, 1927. In April 
19^2 Ben Shahn exhibited twenty-three gouaches called 
The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti (Pi. 9) at the 
Downtown Gallery. The final work, of Sacco and 
Vanzetti lying in their coffins, sometimes called That 
Agony Is Our Triumph, refers to a phrase of Vanzetti's 
in a last interview with Phil Stong, who published the 
remarks in the New York World on May 1 3, 1927: 

Fig. 62. Julius Bloch. The Lynching /y?2. Oil on canvas, 
79 x 11 inches. Purchase, J3.2S. 

"Our words —our lives — our pams nothing! The tak- 
ing of our lives — lives of a good shoemaker and a poor 
fish peddler — all! That last moment belongs to us — 
that agony is our triumph." 7 " 

Shahn, in his painting, felt the need to communi- 
cate the hypocrisy of the three Lowell C ommittee 
members, who are shown carrj ing lilies to the open 
caskets. The element of caricature in the faces of the 
three living men conveys a brittle grimness to the 
proceedings. The steps and the columns of a hall ot 
justice, with a portrait of Judge Thayer pledging to 
uphold the law, form the background. Shahn has used .1 
carefully composed collage cubist style in which the 
tonus ,mc\ the spaces between look like pieces ot cut-up 
paper, so that the whole surface has movement. In 
short, Shahn has used modernism to manipulate the 
images ot power ,\nJ powerlessness. 

Philip Evergood, working on the \\ l'A as well as 
deeply involved in the politics ot the Artists' I Inion he 


was President in 1 9 3 7), felt the need to communicate his 
feelings about the courageous working class. In a 
painting such as American Tragedy of 1937 (private 
collection) he showed an interracial couple defying the 
guns and billy clubs of the police breaking up a rally of 
striking Republic Steel Corporation picketers on 
Memorial Day of 1937. This painting is perhaps the 
quintessential partisan Social Realist painting, for its 
theme of working-class solidarity and militant resis- 
tance was meant to inspire the viewer to political 
action. 71 

Often, however, Evergood's paintings were 
vignettes of city life, remembered from his walks 
through the ghettos of New York. Regarding Lily and 
the Sparrows of 1939 (PI. 10) Evergood recalled: 

/ was walking along [that section under the old El, 
between Sixth Street and West Broadway] in a sort 
of dream, thinking of something else, . . . and I 
happened to stop at the curb, just dreaming, . . . 
and I looked up, and here was an amazing sight. A 
little, bald-headed, white, beautiful white little face 
was in a window with her little bits of crumbs — 
alone. She could have fallen out and been killed — 
leaning out of the window there with her little 
crumbs, looking up, and there were a couple of 
little sparrows flying around in the air. I thought to 
myself, my God, this is the chance of a lifetime. . . . 
This tells the story and I've been given this just for 
standing here. 72 

Invited to submit a work to the Whitney Museum 
Annual, Evergood, on the eve of sending it, scraped out 
the many layers painted onto the face of Lily, and one 
emerged — with a beatific, mysterious smile. When the 
Annual closed in mid-February 1940, the curatorial 
staff decided to purchase this image of individual 
innocence and squalid neglect. 

Fantasy and American 

Evergood's style and sensibility in the late 1930s and 
1940s often verged on the fantastic or the good-natured 
grotesque. At that time there were a number of artists 
working in modes described as fanciful, fantastic, or 
surrealist. Some of these artists worked in relative 
isolation in art colonies far from New York; others were 

involved with the social issues of the day. 

Edwin Dickinson's art belongs to no easy category. 
He studied at the Art Students League under William 
Merritt Chase and then with Charles Hawthorne in 
Provincetown; after a stint in the Navy during World 
War I, he lived in Europe, painting in Paris, St.-Tropez, 
and Spain. From 1921 to 1937 Dickinson returned to 
Provincetown, where his figure style evolved away from 
the monumental and painterly realism of Hawthorne 
toward a private and mysterious symbolism. From 
1945 to 1966 he taught in New York at the Art Students 
League and at Cooper Union. 73 His painting The Fossil 
Hunters of 1926- 28 (Fig. 63) depicts a mad or irra- 
tional reality closer to the terrors of dreams than to 
everyday life. The ambiguous setting contains heavy 
dark blue-green drapery cascading over three figures 
who are carelessly dressed and inclined precipitously 
toward the viewer. In the lower left a grindstone 
anchors the dizzying spatial flow; a reclining cadaver- 
ous man stretches a divining rod toward the grindstone. 
Near his hand rest pieces of stone and a stick, as well as 
a clay mask with a grimace frozen on its features — 
features more clearly delineated that those of the three 
figures. The dark, elegiac disorder suggests a violence 
less of the present than of an indistinct memory or a 
barely recalled nightmare. The space, the dark blue- 
green and lavender colors, and the forms together 
create an anxiety — all the more so because of the 
ambiguity, mystery, and inexplicitness. Dickinson's 
originality commanded the respect of a broad range of 
artists; because of contemporaneous concerns his paint- 
ings had particular appeal during the 1950s and 1960s. 

Other figure painters closely allied to the realism of 
the American Scene painters, but influenced by the 
European movements of Surrealism in France and the 
Neue Sachlichkeit in Germany, evolved styles which 
have been called naturalistic surrealism, magic realism, 
and/or social surrealism, labels that even the artists 
found inadequate. Louis Guglielmi said of his own 
work: "My painting has been called surreal, magic 
realist, romantic, and expressionist. I do not know what 
to call it. It has the elements of all these classifications. I 
try to create in each picture an atmosphere and sense of 
its own reality." 74 What French Surrealism offered was 
a liberation from both naturalistically rendered form 
and Renaissance, perspectival space. Figures and props 
could be combined and juxtaposed without heed to 
rational and naturalistic ordering in order to convey a 
complex content. Indeed, the very juxtapositions could 
suggest insights into psychological truth. 

Painting, iyoo-r 87 

Fig. 63. Edwin Dickinson. The Fossil Hunters, 1926-28. Oil 
on canvas, 9 6 V2 x yj % inches. Purchase, 5^.29. 

Analytic cubism had also released artists from the 
obligation to scientifically plotted illusionism, but it had 
destroyed the holistic integrity of the figure. However, 
with synthetic or collage cubism (also montage), artists 
could retain the figure, either wholly or synecdochically, 
as well as take advantage of telling juxtapositions. 

There were major differences between French 
Surrealism and its American variety. The French Sur- 
realists, including Dali (who represented French Sur- 
realism to most Americans), were often preoccupied 
with Freudian interpretations of sexuality, particularly 
with sexual nightmares and the anxieties arising from 
the unconscious. But Americans during the 1930s were 
often preoccupied more with the violence of social 
institutions (lynchings in the South, the growth of 
Fascism in Europe) than with the violence of repressed 
sexual urges. Therefore, in many of their works — 
including those of Blume and Guglielmi — the refer- 
ences are less to inner private anxieties than to collec- 
tive, environmental, and social problems, including the 
role of the family and of spiritual values in an era of 
profit-producing technology and warfare. Grace Cle- 
ment, in an article "New Content — New Form," for 
the March 1936 issue of Art Front discussed the 
possibilities of both surrealist styles and montage for a 
socially relevant art. Citing the subject of men standing 

on a bread line, ( lement argued th.u mere naturalism 
(verisimilitude! cannot satisfactorily deal with the con- 
tradictions ot capitalism which are responsible tor the 

bread line. The significance ot the surrealists laj in 
"their use ot psychological phenomena, especiall) 
through their use of associative ideas." 7 "' I herefore, 
( lement reasoned, juxtapositions ot associative ideas 
could suggest insights into political, economic, and 
social truths as well as psychological truth. Indeed, a 
soual surrealism did develop in America — a hybrid 
form of Surrealism which continued through the 1940s. 

One social surrealist was Peter Blume, \\ ho uime 
to prominence during the controversy surrounding his 
winning the First Prize at the Carnegie International in 
1934 for his painting South ofScranton of 1931 (The 
Metropolitan Museum of Art), a composition of 
meticulously rendered forms and images recalled from 
an automobile trip made from New York to Charleston 
in 1930. At the time critics deplored the arbitran 
placement of figures and the destruction of the Aristote- 
lian unities of time and space. In Light of the World, 
painted in 1932 (Fig. 64) and included in the Whitnej 
Museum's first Biennial, four figures on an outdoor 
patio worriedly stare up at an elaborate electrical light 
terminal, held up by cross-sections of classical entabla- 
tures. Wedged into the middle ground is a diminutive 
nineteenth-century copy of a Gothic church which 
represents faith based on belief rather than reason. 
Further in the background are a farm on the right and a 
factory on the left, two areas of employment for 
working Americans. The title phrase "Light of the 
World" has traditionally referred to Christ, but the 
object of their awe, and perhaps worship, is the light 
terminal symbolizing technology, which is the end 
product of the classical tradition based on reason. 7 '' 

Louis Guglielmi painted The Various Spring in 
1937 (Fig. 65). In this painting budding trees and 
factory houses take up the middle ground, toward 
which a worker wends his way. In the foreground and 
repeated twice again in the composition is an image of a 
man climbing a Maypole which holds a tray ot rish, 
meat, fruits, vegetables, and a wine bottle in the midst ot 
which is nestled an unconscious or dead child wearing 
the number i<->. Above the tray is w hat appears to be a 
lacy handkerchief placed in an embroidery hoop from 
which hang streamers and a bomb. In the distance a 
small boy flies a kite. In the foreground at the right is a 
part of a building with a sign which spells out only the 
first three letters ot "Hotel." A small snake is perched at 
the right on a ledge with a sprig ot grass grow ing up 

Fig. 64. Peter Blume. Light of the World, 1932. Oil on 
composition board, 18 x 20 V4 inches. Purchase, 33.5. 

through a crack. The child with its number 29, the 
bomb, the desperate attempt of the man to climb the 
Maypole, the letters "HOT," and the fact that the 
painting was done in 1937, combine to suggest that the 
symbolism might refer to the saturation bombing by the 
Nazis of the Spanish town of Guernica — a three-hour 
ordeal of April 26, five days before May Day, which 
took the lives of hundreds of civilians including chil- 
dren. 77 The kite flown by the child might then refer to 
the airplanes; the homecoming worker, disproportion- 
ately large, might refer to the workers who made up the 
partisan cause; the "HOT" might refer to the heat of the 

Fig. 65. Louis Guglielmi. The Various Spring, 1917. Oil on 
canvas, 15 V4 x 19 V4 inches. Promised gift of Flora Whitney 
Miller, 69.78. 

Painting, 19 > S9 

Fig. 66. Federico Castellon. The Dark Figure, 19)8. Oil on 
canvas, 17 x 26 inches. Purchase, 42.1. 

saturation bombing or to wars in general, which 
transform homes into infernos. The snake could have 
any number of symbolic references — including death 
and regeneration. While this conjecture is specific, it 
does not negate a general interpretation of the effects of 
war on civilian life. The painting is moralizing, a 
comment on the value of human life, but there is no 
message of optimism. 

In the 1 94 1 Whitney Museum Annual, which ran 
from November 12 through December 30, Guglielmi 
exhibited Terror in Brooklyn of 194 1 (PI. 1 1), and 
Federico Castellon, another American surrealist, ex- 
hibited The Dark Figure, painted in 1938 (Fig. 66). In 
Terror in Brooklyn three matrons dressed in black, 
probably of the Italian neighborhoods with which 
Guglielmi was familiar, huddle under a bell jar placed in 
the middle of the street, with expressions of horror on 
their faces. Desolate houses and store fronts in the 
distant background repeat in mirror image those build- 
ings in the middle ground. 78 A lamppost is without a 
lamp; on the side wall are bones hung up with ribbons 
and a diner is at the right. The pink and blue colors, 
because they seem inappropriate to the occasion, grate 
on our sensibilities. The object of the terror of these 
women eludes us, as the painter invites us to puzzle a 
meaning from the situation. 

Federico Castellon, born in Spain, exhibited in 
Paris when he was nineteen years old, along with other 
Spanish artists including Picasso, Miro, and Dali. The 

latter u ith his meticulous and detailed draftsmanship 
was a lasting influence on ( astell6n. ( ast el l<>n\ dream- 
like image The Dark Figure combines a middle-ground 
frieze <>t willowy arms caressing human fragments 

propped against a plastered wall. I'hrcc large and 
misshapen hoops and one small hoop are held up b) the 
fingers, wrists, and backs ot the fragmented figures. In 
the foreground at the right is a peasant woman, hooded 
and clothed in black, who grasps one hand with the 
long and muscular ringers of the other hand. I he Dark 
Figure is ominous, perhaps a memory imaginative!) 
reconstructed from Castellon's Spanish past, but one 
that portends an ominous future. In fact, while the 1941 
Annual was on view the Japanese bombed Pearl 
Harbor, Scofield Barracks, and a number of U.S. Arim 
Air Corps installations at Oahu on December 7, [941. 
Both the Guglielmi and Castellon paintings seemed to 
represent a sensibility of apprehension, and it was not 
inappropriate that the Whitney Museum chose 
these works to purchase from that Annual. 

American artists in the first torn years of this century, 
by and large, felt optimistic about the future of 
American society: they went to the polls, organized an 
schools, and believed that they could hold on to what 
was usable in the past, could humanize bureaucrats, 
and could reform the bad aspects of the free-enterprise 
system. In spite of the left-wing rhetoric of the 19 ^os 
few artists had in mind a social upheaval as violent as a 
revolution. To the majority of liberal, humanist figura- 
tive artists, the goal of artmaking was to communicate 
their personal expression, never doubting its compati- 
bility with the collective goals of enlightened political 
leadership and of the democratic masses. All through 
the 1930s, a period of great camaraderie among artists, 
this optimism prevailed, until [939 when Fascism 
seemed to triumph and a period of disillusionment ,mJ 
introspection set in. 7 '' With the Furopean abstrac- 
tionists and Surrealists arriving in New York in the late 
1930s, main American painters were encouraged to 
reconsider modernism — the art ot turning in, ot self- 
referentiality, of escape into formal values. At that same 
time, other painters began to turn awa\ from 
naturalism, from the single view "slice of lite," as not 
being adequate to render their own complex 
psychological and political responses to contemporan. 


Sculpture, 1900-1940 


Figurative art has been more persistent in sculpture than 
it has in painting because a vertical three-dimensional 
form appears to represent man no matter how abstract 
the artist's interpretation. Before the twentieth century, 
sculptors rendered representations of human and ani- 
mal figures almost exclusively. Nineteenth-century in- 
tellectuals believed that accurate perception and close 
recording of physical facts revealed the transcendental 
purpose of God. In 1802 William Paley, a master of this 
kind of teleological argument, enumerated in Natural 
Theology detailed physical facts to demonstrate the 
overall purpose of creation. 1 Such varied critics as Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, James Jackson Jarves, and John 
Ruskin agreed that figures radiated transcendental 
meaning — the more accurately the phenomenal world 
was reproduced, the more forcefully its spiritual signifi- 
cance would shine through. In addition, throughout the 
history of American art, the mercantile class has 
exhibited a strong preference for representation and 

The continuing desire to create the figure in the 
twentieth century is, in part, a wish to oppose the chaos 
of modern life, to create a self-contained recognizable 
body symbolizing the wholeness of the mind. Man has a 

Fig. 67. Elie Nadelman. Dancing Figure, 191(1-18. Bronze, 
29V2 x 11 x 11V2 inches. Promised gift of an anonymous 
donor, 7.75. 

compelling need to confront his own image in art, part 
of his search for his own identity. Even dreams, a 
tremendous source of imagery during our century, are 
only rarely non-figurative. 

Clay Modeling for Bronze Casts 

For the most part American sculptors between 1900 
and 1940 carved or modeled their figures. John Storrs, 
Alexander Calder, Theodore Roszak, and others had 
pioneered constructivist techniques in their non- 
objective sculptures during these years, but this phe- 
nomenon had little to do with the development of 
figurative sculpture. Except for Calder's wire portraits, 
the emphasis was on monolithic mass, tactile surface 
qualities, and unity of material. Figurative sculptors 
tended to be academically trained romantic humanists 
who amalgamated some anti-classical concepts with 
the classical preference for the human figure as subject. 
Most of them encountered modernism during the 
second decade of the twentieth century, thus increasing 
their experimentation with abstraction, expressive ana- 
tomical distortion, pnmitivism, sensuality, or at the very 
least Rodin-inspired, roughly modeled surfaces. 

Major shifts in style and technique have occurred 
in American sculpture during the past century. 1 ate 
nineteenth-century American sculptors were modelers 

Fig. 6H. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Fountain, 1913. 
Bronze, 42 x 36 x 29 inches. Gift of the artist, 31.78. 

Fig. 69. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Study of Soldiers, 
1919- Bronze. Collection of Flora Whitney Miller. 

who studied, for the most part, at the Ecole des 
Beaux-Arts and other academies in Paris and the United 
States. They accepted the academic emphasis on the 
human figure, emulation of antique, Renaissance, and 
Baroque masterpieces, and the aesthetic goals of har- 
mony and beauty. The designs of the maquettes which 
they modeled in clay were usually transferred to marble 
or bronze by assistants or apprentices. Traditional late 
nineteenth-century metal and stone sculpture was 
figurative and was characterized by idealized form, 
didactic content, and softly modulated surface planes 
juxtaposed with finely articulated details. In 1900, 
when Mrs. Whitney, then twenty-five years old, decided 
that she wanted to model monumental works, she chose 
to study with either Augustus Saint-Gaudens or Daniel 
Chester French, the two leading American Beaux- Arts 
sculptors at that time. Neither was able to take her on as 
a pupil, and she studied instead with Hendrik C. 
Andersen, James Earle Fraser, and Andrew O'Connor, 
who also reflected the academic-classical tradition. She 
exhibited a male nude figure in the Pan-American 
Exposition in Buffalo in 1901 and a sculpture of an 
athlete in the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. During the 
spring of 1904 Gertrude Whitney, Malvina Hoffman, 
and Anna Hyatt all studied sculpture for a few months 
at the Art Students League. 2 Gertrude Whitney was one 
of the few sculptors included in the Exhibition of 

Independent Artists in 1910. 3 She was profoundly 
impressed by Rodin, whom she met in 191 1 at his atelier 
in the Hotel Biron in Paris. The powerful modeling and 
the interest in the play of light across animated sur- 
faces of the studies for the male figures supporting 
the bowl in Fountain (Fig. 68) reflect Rodin's influence. 
Her strong commitment to academic-classical forms is 
more evident in the finished fountain. She was a 
member of both the National Sculpture Society and the 
National Academy of Design, and the study for the 
fountain was awarded honorable mention at the Paris 
Salon in 1913. A replica of this bronze model is in 
working condition in the formal gardens surrounding 
the artist's studio in Old Westbury, Long Island. 4 After 
World War I, Gertrude Whitney modeled a series of 
more realistic studies of soldiers, based upon her 
observations at the hospital she established at the front 
in France, which reflected the aesthetic philosophy of 
some of her colleagues, especially Jo Davidson 
(Fig. 6 9 ). 5 

Davidson was one of the more imaginative Ameri- 
can emulators of Rodin. Soon after he arrived in Paris in 
1907 he visited the Salon des Artistes Independants and 
proclaimed "And here I saw the work of artists — 
individuals . . . painting and sculpting as they liked, 
expressing themselves. To me it was an open door to 
freedom." 6 His modernism was more of an attitude of 

Fig. 70. Jo Davidson. Gertrude Stein, 1920. Bronze, 
31 V<* x 25 'A x 24 V2 inches. Purchase, S4-io. 

acute observation than a thrust toward abstraction, and 
Davidson became one of the most sensitive traditional 
portraitists of our century. Davidson revealed that he 
became interested in portraiture as a student in Paris 
and that 

gradually, portraiture became an obsession. I 
avidly made portraits of people in whatever sur- 
roundings I happened to find myself. 

It requires great discipline to see your sitter and 
to realize the wonder of the uniqueness of the 
face —that it is not a mask but a sensitive instru- 
ment by which man reveals himself. To look at 
your sitter with humility and accept him as he is 
with sympathy and understanding and express the 
living, talking, breathing man as I saw him — that 
was my objective. 7 

For some sculptors, making portraits was a practical 
necessity because there were more patrons for likenes- 

Fig. 71. Jo Davidson. Dr. Albert Einstein, 1934. Bronze. 
i) 3 A x ip x 11 inches. Purchase, $4.31. 

ses than there were for more imaginative or abstract 
works. Davidson, however, enjoyed discovering and 
recording in clay the particularity of each person. There 
were romantically inclined sculptors, .is well as paint- 
ers, who were fascinated with a Whitman-inspired 
emphasis on the unique qualities of the individual and 
portraiture continues throughout the twentieth cental) 
to be an inventive and important aspect of the figurative 
tradition. Monroe Wheeler, in his introduction to 10th 
Century Portraits, .111 exhibition held at the Museum of 
Modern Art in 11)42, defined portraiture in terms 
similar to I ).n idson's, .is "an) representation of an 
individual known to the .mist personally in w hich the 
appearance and character oi th.u individual have been 
an important factor in his mind .is he worked. " 

The Whitney Museum owns an impressive range 

Fig. 72. Jo Davidson. Female Torso, 192.7. Terra-cotta, 
22V2 x 10V2 x 6V2 inches. Purchase, 33-55- 

of Davidson's portraits including Gertrude Stein 
(Fig. 70), Dr. Albert Einstein (Fig. 71), and three of 
Mrs. Whitney (see Fig. 13). The bronze sculptures of 
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, about 1917, and Ger- 
trude Stein, 1920, are as different as the sitters. Gertrude 
Whitney stands tall, regal, elegant, and fashionably 
dressed. Davidson articulated the details of her costume 
with the same care she expended in selecting it. In 
contrast, Gertrude Stein sits stolidly in plainer garb, a 
mountain of sculpture. Both of these patrons of the arts 
were interpreted by Davidson as serious and deeply 
reflective figures of importance. For his bronze portrait 
head of Dr. Albert Einstein of 1934, Davidson chose a 
rougher surface treatment. With a greater range of 
chiaroscuro than the portraits of the two Gertrudes, it is 
reminiscent of Davidson's powerful and imaginative 
portrait bust of John Marin, completed in 1908. Its style 
and surface treatment are also similar to Jacob 
Epstein's 1933 portrait of Dr. Einstein. 

Davidson was not exclusively a portraitist, and his 
refined abstracted terra-cotta Female Torso (Fig. 72) 
exhibits a little-known aspect of his oeuvre. The 
intentional creation of a partial human figure is an 
innovation of the last hundred years and can be 
considered a form of abstraction — that is, using a part 
to represent the whole. 

The rough, kneaded surfaces of Michael Brenner's 
modeled head of Gertrude Stein (private collection, 
New York) expresses more of the emotional depth of his 
sitter than Davidson's portrait with its contemplative 
demeanor. With Portrait of a Man (Fig. 73), Brenner 
achieved an even greater range of chiaroscuro than with 
Gertrude Stein by undercutting the depressions that he 
gouged out for eyes. Brenner was born in Lithuania in 
1885 and emigrated during the 1890s to New York City 
where, later in the decade, he studied with Augustus 
Saint-Gaudens at the Art Students League. On Saint- 
Gaudens's recommendation, Brenner traveled to Paris 
to study sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Al- 
though he excelled in academic drawing and modeling 
(winning a prize in competition), he preferred the freer, 
more modern attitudes of the Academie Julian. The 
abstracted figurative drawings in Brenner's undated 

Fig. j 3. Michael Brenner. Portrait of a Man, before 1930. 
Bronze, 13 x 9V4 x 7% inches. Gift of Mrs. Michael Brenner, 

Fig. 74. Abastenia St. Leger Eberle. Roller Skating, before 
1909. Bronze, 1} x // % x 6 X U inches. Gift of Gertrude 
Vanderbilt Whitney, Ji.15. 

F/g. 7y. Mahonri M. Young. Groggy, 1926. Bronze, 

14V4 x S'/4 x 9V2 merges. G//f of Gertrude Vanderbilt \\ bit- 

ney, }i.Hi. 

sketchbooks (University of Delaware Gallery) exhibit a 
modernist's interest in the shorthand signification of 
form — very few lines indicate the complexity of the 
whole figure, a style probably influenced by the con- 
tour, single-line drawings of Henri Matisse. Brenner 
was somewhat of a recluse but was befriended by and 
received the patronage of Gertrude Stein, who in turn 
introduced him to Gertrude Whitney. 8 

Some early twentieth-century figurative sculptors 
were involved in an acutely observed realism. Just as 
portraiture was embraced by both academic and 
avant-garde artists, so genre sculpture of the early 
twentieth century was accepted by the juries of annual 
exhibitions of the academies and paradoxically was 
also considered an independent alternative to 
classicism. Abastenia St. Leger Eberle's genre sculptures 
parallel the aesthetic philosophy and the paintings of 
The Eight. Like the realist painters, she stressed 
observation of life around her. Other realist American 
sculptors like Mahonri M. Young, Chester Beach, and 
Charles Haag glorified the common laborer. Paul 
Troubetskoy and Ethel Myers depicted, sometimes in 
caricature, New York's grandes dames. Eberle studied 
at the Art Students League from 1899 to 1902 and 
shared a studio with Anna Hyatt in 1904. Eberle said 111 

1913: "While in Italy, ... I had steeped myself in the 
classic arts and I was filled with the past and seemed to 
lose hold on the present, but when I landed in New York 
I began to sense the modern spirit, and to live in the 
present work-a-day world with all its common 
places. . . ." u Her obsession with reflecting the contem- 
porary world is typical of the independent artists 
surrounding Gertrude Whitney. Eberle studied and 
immersed herself in the life of the lower East Side which 
she interpreted in her statuettes as happy figures in 
motion without implying the need for social or political 
change. Far from spurning her interest in unidealistic 
genre figures of immigrants, the National Academy of 
Design awarded her the Burnett Prize in 19 10 for her 
sculpture The Windy Doorstep, which she had 
modeled during her stay in Woodstock, New York. 10 
Roller Skating (Fig. 74) expresses the gleeful abandon 
of a child at play, propelled by her own power." 

Mahonri Young was another master of genre 
sculpture. Mrs. Whitney purchased his bronze Work- 
man with Wheelbarrow from the [915 National 
Academy of Design exhibition, and bj the time the 
WhitiK\ Museum opened she had purchased two bronze 
sculptures — Groggy, r.926 (Fig. 75 . and The ( htes- 
santine Shepherdess, a Breton peasant women — which 

9 6 

Fig. 76. Maurice Sterne. The Bomb Thrower, 1910/14. 
Bronze, 12 x 7V2 x 9V2 inches. Bequest of Mrs. Sam A. 
Lewisohn, 54.51- 

Young had modeled on his fourth trip to France from 
1923 to 1927. Young first exhibited at the Whitney Studio 
in 1918, and a one-man show of his drawings was on 
view at the Whitney Studio Club in 1919. He had 
studied at the Art Students League in 1899 and was 
close to Leo and Gertrude Stein in Paris during the 
pivotal years of their support of avant-garde art. 
Young's metier, however, was a style based on his close 
observations of the compositional and anatomical 

Fig. 77. Gaston Lacbaise. Standing Figure, 1917. Bronze, 
1 1 1 /* x 4V4 x 3 V4 inches. Given in memory of Edith Gregor 
Halpert by the Halpert Foundation, 75.14. 

structures of athletes and laboring men in motion. 
Young did not like excessively modeled projections and 
depressions; for him the focus of sculpture was anat- 
omy, not lumpy surfaces, abstractions, or "truth to 

Maurice Sterne's first sculpture, The Bomb 
Thrower (Fig. 76), 12 which he dated 1910, is a very early 
example of modern American sculpture and shows the 
simplicity, directness, and power that characterized 
some European avant-garde sculpture contemporary to 
it. Sterne reduced natural shapes in this portrait of his 
Italian friend Pasquale to simple planes and 
silhouettes — he stressed form rather than content, and 
thus aligned himself with the mainstream of modern 
art. One immediately thinks of Raymond Duchamp- 
Vi\\on\ Baudelaire , and of Brancusi's work, like 
Sterne's reduced to the simplest natural elements. 13 
Sterne acknowledged the profound impact he felt from 
Cezanne's paintings exhibited at the Salon d'Automne 

Fig. 78. Gaston Lachaise. John Marin, i<)i8. Bronze, 
12V4 x 9% x 9-15/16 inches. Promised 50th Anniversary 
Gift ofSeth and Gertrude W. Dennis, P.11.H0. 

in Paris in October 1907. Whereas Eberle's and Young's 
sculptures did not have political symbolism, Sterne's 
Bomb Thrower does. This is a grim and decisively 
determined expression of one of the many young 
anarchists participating in the labor strikes prevalent in 
Rome in 1910 and 191 1. 

Gaston Lachaise created some of the most strongly 
personal sculptures in America during the early years of 
this century. The Lovers, an intertwined male/female 
group modeled between 1908 and 1910, was modern in 
its depiction of an erotic theme. 14 After his emigration 
from France to Boston in January 1906, Lachaise 
supported himself by making belt buckles and other 
accessories for war monuments like Henry Hudson 
Kitson's Minute Man in Lexington, Massachusetts. On 
his own, however, Lachaise modeled erotic sculptures 
inspired by an intense relationship with his mistress, 
Isabel Dutaud Nagle, who later became his wife. He 
discarded the rules of classicism that he had learned 
during eleven years of study in French academies to 
begin his unusual hymns to the human female form. 

Fig. 79. Gaston Lachaise. Man Walking, 1933. Bronze. 
23 x uVa x 8V2 inches. Purchase, \ | 

The subjects of passion and sensuality, the tactile 
kneaded surfaces, mk\ the belief in the beaut) ol 
distortion of the human form for design purposes .ire 
the legacy of Rodin, but die interpretation is uniquely 
Lachaise's. One can view the raw energ) of 1 achaise's 
sculpture — so different from the' grand or genteel- 
tradition sculpture on which he labored tor Kitson —as 
an indication of broad cultural changes m America, 
During the 1910s I achaise developed a series of 
reclining and standing women, small simple dosed 

Fig. 80. Gaston Lachaise. Torso, 1930. Bronze, 
11V2 x 7 x 2V4 inches. Purchase, 58.4. 

Fig. 81. Hugo Robus. Despair, 1927. Bronze, 12 % x 10 x 13 
inches. Purchase, 40.23. 

forms culminating in the monumental La Montague 
(1934) and Standing Woman of 1912- 27 (Pi. 12). His 
sculptured women of the 1920s were larger in scale and 
more dramatically distorted than his earlier works. 

Lachaise's French Beaux-Arts training emerged in 
his facility in rendering portraiture in a wide variety of 
modes. 15 Like Davidson, and most other fine por- 
traitists, Lachaise enjoyed modeling portraits of people 
he admired, as was the case with his John 
Marin of 1928 (Fig. 78). Quite different from the 
smooth-surfaced elegant portrait heads of Mme. 
Lachaise in bronze, of Georgia O'Keeffe in alabaster 
(1923, The Metropolitan Museum of Art) or Antoinette 
Kraushaar in marble (1923, private collection, New 
York), the head of Marin was modeled with an 
expressionistic boldness which explores the suffering 
and emotional breadth of the sitter. Davidson and 
Lachaise both selected a roughly modeled surface and 
down-turned composition lines for the eyebrows, eyes, 
and mouth for their portraits of Marin. 

During the 1930s Lachaise created several full- 
length male nude portraits, an unusual genre for an 
American sculptor. On one hand it antagonized the 
strong puritanical strain of our national consciousness, 
and on the other it ran counter to modern art's thrust 
toward abstraction. 16 In some small statues Lachaise 
harked back to early classical Greek sculptures of 

athletes, as in Boy with Tennis Racket, 1933 (private 
collection), and to statues of Egyptian Pharaohs, as in 
Man Walking, 1933 (Fig. 79), which is a portrait of 
Lincoln Kirstein. The Man (1930-34) in the Chrysler 
Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, however, is a 
monumental, weighty earthbound pendant to the over 
life-size women, Jungian archetypal symbols of the 
female as a fecund earth mother, but both are more 
universal interpretations of the human figure than the 
specific portraits. 

Lachaise's late fragments are the most dramatically 
sexual sculptures produced by an American at the time. 
After 1928, with Seated Torso, Lachaise left his 
idealization and smooth surfaces to emphasize 
the genital area, flesh, and musculature. With Torso 
(Fig. 80), he arbitrarily decreased the size of the waist to 
emphasize the breasts and the thighs — so different 
from the chaste Torso by Jo Davidson. The dynamism 
and explicit sexual joy expressed by Lachaise's late 
series of sculptures were rare during the 1930s. 

Hugo Robus is another figurative sculptor who 
amalgamated his academic schooling with modern 
tendencies. 17 He received his early training at the 
Cleveland School of Art and the National Academy of 
Design in New York. In Paris from 1912 to 1914 Robus 
studied modeling with Antoine Bourdelle, and dis- 
cussed aesthetic philosophy with Stanton 

Fig. Hi. Alexander Archipenko. Torso in Space, 1936. Metalized terra-cotta, 

11 x 60 x 73 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Rubel, $"#.24. 

Macdonald-Wright, Morgan Russell, and Frantisek 
Kupka. Despair (Fig. 81) exhibits the hallmarks of 
Robus's mature and individual style of sculpture: 
simplicity, curved smooth planes, serpentine contour 
lines, volumetric forms, and human themes. Like other 
figurative artists, Robus perceived that abstraction and 
representation are not necessarily polarities of style and 
that they could be found simultaneously in one work. 

Many of Robus's mature works express the ex- 
tremes of human emotions, from laughter to brooding 
despair and anguish. In his search for new content 
Robus also dealt with personal imagery and symbolism, 
evoking mystery, ambiguity, and contradiction. He used 
the human form freely, detaching the face and placing it 
on the ground in front of a kneeling figure or decapitat- 
ing a standing female figure and hanging the smiling 
head from her finger ( Vase, 1928, private collection). 
Robus and many other twentieth-century artists re- 
leased their figures from ordinary visual reality, dis- 
locating them from conventional logic and com- 
monplace causality. 

Alexander Archipenko, one of the progenitors of 
Cubism, emigrated to the United States in [923. 
Through his widespread teaching in his own art schools 
in New York City and Woodstock and at various 
college campuses, and by means of the dynamic forces 
of his personality and art, Archipenko exerted a 

tremendous impact on American sculpture. His art had 
preceded him — Archipenko's sculptures were ex- 
hibited in the Armory Show in 191 ; and in 19 11 at the 
Societe Anonyme. Most of Archipenko's distinctive 
sculptural motifs and breakthroughs were established 
during his European years. Even tor the reclining female 
torso, which he refined in this country in r.93 5, there are 
precedents from his Parisian period. Archipenko 
created Torso in Space (Fig. 82) in terra-cotta, in 
chromium-plated metal, and in bronze versions as pan 
of his development of the image, which is the quintes- 
sence of the slender floating female torso. Whereas 
Lachaise's reclining females are voluptuous, Zorach's 
sensuous, and Baizerman's rhythmically articulated, 
Archipenko's are abstracted to a few sweeping curved 
lines and flat planes. 

Some of Lachaise's, Archipenko's, and Robus's 
streamlined planar sculptures emphasized geometric 
simplification and decorative st\ h/ation, a manner that 
has been labeled Art Deco. The term is derh ed from the 
/ xposition Internationale des Arts Dicoratifs et Indus- 
triels Modemes held in Paris in mzs. Paul Manship, 
some of whose sculptures share similar characteristics, 
used the classical subjects that appealed to his academic 
colleagues, but his figurative sculptures are more linear, 
decorative, stylized, and ornamental than theirs. 
Whereas An Deco isclosel) associated with machine 

Fig. 83. Elie Nadelman. Draped Standing Female Figure, 
1908. Marble, 22 % x u x 8 inches. Promised gift of an 
anonymous donor, #.75. 

technology and functional design, the parallel incised 
lines of Manship's works were inspired by archaic 
Greek sculpture and the figurative style of Greek vases 
which Manship studied during his three years, 1909- 
12, at the American Academy in Rome, and during a 
journey to Greece in 1912. The sleek lines and abstrac- 
tion of both archaistic and Art Deco sculpture were 
prevalent in American figurative sculpture during the 
1920s and 1930s, though these style characteristics are 
not represented in sculpture in the collection of the 
Whitney Museum. 

Elie Nadelman's one-man exhibition at the Scott 
and Fowles Gallery in New York in 1925 elicited the 
comment from Henry McBride that the sculptures 
"point two ways at once, backward and forward." 18 
Alongside the "caricatures in wood of modern society" 
were highly polished white marble classicized heads. 
Nadelman's presence in New York after 1914 was 
seminal, not only for the impact of his sculpture's 
qualities, especially his abstracted curvilinear system, 
but also for the importance of his theories of plasticity, 
beauty, and significant form. His reduction of figures to 
geometric curved volumes and spaces and the refine- 
ment of his ideas and execution appealed to and were 
echoed in the works of Lachaise, Robus, Zorach, 
Laurent, and many other important American 

Nadelman's marble Draped Standing Female Fig- 

Fig. 84. Elie Nadelman. Spring, c 191 1, cast 1966. Bronze 
relief, 47X57X1 V2 inches. Gift of Charles Simon, 69.140. 

ure of 1908 (Fig. 83) is similar in size and composition 
to two bronze sculptures of the same year and title. 19 
They are all of classical inspiration but the bronze 
sculptures are more stylized — the locks of hair are 
flatter and more schematic, the planes which are soft 
and round in the marble version end sharply in the 
bronze versions which have additional drapery over the 
head and across the shoulders. Nadelman borrowed 
freely from a wide range of Greek and Roman proto- 
types without any thought to archaeological correct- 
ness, adding his personal fluidity of serpentine lines, 
elegance, and decorative design. His own title for all 
three sculptures —Recherches des Formes — suggests 
an aesthetic philosophy best explained in the notes he 
wrote for an exhibition of his drawings at Stieglitz's 
"291" gallery: 

/ employ no other line than the curve, which 
possesses freshness and force. . . . The subject of 
any work of art is for me nothing but a pretext for 
creating significant form, relations of forms which 
create a new life that has nothing to do with life in 
nature, a life from which art is born, and from 
which spring style and unity. 

From significant form comes style, from rela- 
tions of form, i.e., the necessity of playing one form 
against another, comes unity. 

I leave it to others to judge of the importance of 
so radical a change in the means used to create a 
work of art. 20 

Kirstein argues convincingly that Picasso's visit in 1908 
to Nadelman's studio, where he saw Nadelman's 
"researches in form" based on the curve, led to Picasso's 
analytical cubist sculptures based on angles and faceted 

surfaces. Nadclman was the first to use the term 
"significant form," which was popularized by ( live Bell 
and became an essential goal for early twentieth- 
century modern sculptors. 

Spring (Fig. 84) is one of several reliefs Nadclman 
designed in 1911 and 1912. The distinctive surface 
elevation of the relief was built up by arranging linear 
patterns of cylinders of clay. According to Kirstein, 
Nadelman's innovation of "drawing" with thin rolls of 
clay was imitated for twenty years in decorative, 
commercial, and fashion art but that its source in 
Nadclman was either forgotten or ignored. 21 Nadclman 
traveled to London from Paris in 1911 for his com- 
prehensive one-man exhibition at Patcrson's Gallery on 
Bond Street. Mine. Helena Rubinstein purchased the 
entire exhibition and commissioned Nadclman to deco- 
rate the billiard room of her house in Putney Park Lane; 
Spring and Autumn were two of the several terra-cotta 
plaques installed. Nadclman depicted Spring as an 
elaborately draped reclining female nude, with Botti- 
cellian flowing hair, being awakened by a partially 
draped standing female figure. 

The Whitney Museum's recently acquired Sur la 
Plage ("On the Beach," 1916, PI. 13) is an unusual 
combination of polished marble and bronze figures in a 
single work. 22 Such a mingling of traditional materials is 
characteristic of Baroque sculpture but not of modern. 
The mannered bronze seated maid, with archaistic 
flat-patterned wavy hair, uses a bronze towel to dry the 
feet of an elegantly coiffed aristocratic marble lady. 
Design, finish, expression, hairstyle, and silhouette of 
the head of the exquisite marble figure are similar to 
Nadelman's marble Goddess created the same year 
(The Cleveland Museum of Art). 

According to Kirstein, Nadelman felt close to 
Mrs. Whitney, particularly because of her efforts to 
provide an atmosphere in which patronage might 
further innovation. He improvised an Indigenous 
Sculpture for a show at the Whitney Studio. When his 
partially nude figures, on view in an exhibition titled 
Allies of Sculpture on the roof garden of the Ritz- 
Carlton Hotel in 1917, caused a scandal, Mrs. Whitney 
came to his defense. 2,1 

Nadelman created many interpretations of the 
dance, an important subject for figurative sculptors, 
who feel an inherent affinity for such "sculpture" in 
motion. Noguchi wrote that the theater of the dance 
adds movement of bodies in relation to form, space, and 
music. He also commented on the joy of seeing 
"sculpture come to life on the stage." 21 Degas's and 

Fig. 8j. Malvina Hoffman. Pavlova, 191J. Bronze, 1 
inches high. Gift <>j Gertrude Vanderbili Whitney, ;m^>. 

Rodin's interpretations ot the dance are legendary, as is 
Caldcr's Josephine Baker. Malvina 1 loffrnan knew 
Pavlova and other members of the Russian ballet in 
Paris between 1910 and 1914, and her bronze statuette 
Pavlova (Fig. 85) has been part of the Whitnej Mu- 
seum's collection since its inception. In 191s Robus 
modeled a gyrating rubbery figure which he cast in 
plaster (Forum Gallery). Nadelman's Dancing Figure, 
about 1 91 6- 18 (Fig. 6-), is one of six bronze easts ot .1 
sculpture originally carved in marble tor the garden ol 
William G. Loew's estate in Old Westbury. 2 '' Like the 
marble bather of Sur la Plage, Nadelman's dancer poses 
with one leg bent beneath the bod\ and the other bent 
out in front. It is unlike many sculptures ot dancers, 
though, for Nadelman did not attempt to re-create the 
dynamism of motion in Dancing I igure but selected a 
moment ot arrested motion at the end ot a ( .reek dance. 
In both of these sculptures he was less interested in his 
signature arabesque and the serpentine curves than in 
harmonious angles ot arms and legs in relation to the 

Directly Carved Wood 
and Stone Sculptures 

( )f the \\ hitne) Museum's collection ot earl) 
twentieth-centur) American sculpture, a large propoi 


tion is directly carved. The direct carver's respect for the 
innate qualities of material was different from the 
exaggerated emphasis on modeling and disregard for 
the intrinsic properties of medium of the preceding 
generation. Yet the direct carver's use of stone and 
wood was relatively traditional in view of the innova- 
tive use of materials advocated by the Futurists and the 
Bauhaus, to name only two groups. For example, 
collage provocatively juxtaposes unorthodox mate- 
rials, and constructivist sculptors fastened together 
materials that had so far been considered unsculptural. 
Direct carvers' concern for materials was modern, but 
their use of them was traditional. Many European 
vanguard artists had carved directly: Aristide Maillol, 
Paul Gauguin, and George Lacombe had carved wood 
figures during the 1890s, Andre Derain and Joseph 
Bernard began in 1906, Pablo Picasso and Constantin 
Brancusi in 1907, Modigliani in 1909, and Jose de 
Creeft in 1917. Robert Laurent was the first to introduce 
taille directe to America with his dramatic primitivist 
relief Negress (Collection of Paul Laurent) in 191 1. 
Between 1908 and 191 7 the German Expressionists 
progressed from carving woodcuts that were self- 
consciously African to carving wood relief sculptures 
just as the American William Zorach did in 1917. 26 

Influenced by theories of modern art, direct carvers 
employed abstraction and expressive distortion of form 
which they combined with the traditional subject of the 
human figure. They expressed in their works a romantic 
orientation and an optimistic philosophy full of the 
deepest and finest qualities of human feeling and love. 
In the United States, the early direct carvers — Zorach, 
Laurent, Flannagan, Gross, and de Creeft — were in- 
fluential in changing the dominant style of sculpture 
away from academic classicism. They shared an in- 
volvement with the entire creative process and the 
respect for the unique qualities of each material. The 
concept of "truth to materials," whether wood, stone, 
ceramic, or metal, had a strong hold upon American 
artists in the 1920s and 1930s. 

The dreamy reflective quality inherent in the slow 
process of carving hard materials was a respite from the 
machines and speed so characteristic of our century. 
Stones are metamorphosed over the centuries, and their 
contemplation encouraged the ontological orientation 
of the American carvers. Somehow the rocks and trees 
with which they worked sustained their poetic nature 
and their romantic urge to return to primordial 
methods and forms. Sculptors who carved repeatedly 
expressed in words the existence of a universal being or 

quality in all living things in such phrases as "universal 
truth" or "essence of life." Artists, philosophers, and 
theologians grapple with the ultimate concerns of man 
and the essential meaning of life — with the spirit that 
transcends nature and man. Carvers invariably pre- 
ferred natural (human or animal) forms carved of 
natural materials by means of the human hand. Carvers 
also believed in a kind of Michelangelesque reanima- 
tion — "a real artist touches a piece of material 
and under his touch it becomes a thing of life" is the way 
that Zorach described it. 27 

Zorach recorded the inception of a pair of carved 
wood statuettes recently reunited at the Whitney Mu- 

In Provincetown I bought two pieces of mahog- 
any, each of them about twenty inches high, which 
a sea captain had brought back from Africa many 
years ago. Dahlov was three and a half and Tessim 
six. I carved a figure of each child standing, chunky 
and compact figures. . . . I held the wood between 
my knees and used small carpenter chisels and a 
penknife. The children played around the room 
nude so I could study them and watch the forms 
move. 28 

Zorach acknowledged that The Young Boy was influ- 
enced by African carvings. 29 The single axis, rigid 
stance, frontality, segmented parts, exaggerated hips, 
blank eyes, and stylized navel and knee caps link The 
Young Boy particularly to Fang statues, such as the one 
included in Charles Sheeler's folio of photographs of the 
Negro sculptures at Marius de Zayas's Modern Gallery, 
a book Zorach purchased around 1919. 30 Figure of a 
Child, companion to The Young Boy, is softer and less 
overtly primitive; the personality of the small girl 
overpowered Zorach's primitivist tendencies (PI. 14, 
Figs. 86, 87). 

John B. Flannagan, whose figurative works are not 
represented in the Permanent Collection of the Whitney 
Museum, created some of the outstanding examples of 
directly carved American sculpture. He exhibited at the 
Whitney Studio Club in a group show in December 
1925, and Alexander Brook and Juliana Force or- 
ganized his first one-man exhibition anywhere at the 
Whitney Studio Galleries in January 1929. Flannagan 
seemingly did little to transform the ellipsoidal blocks 
of granite or sandstone to the recognizable forms of 
animals or non-personalized images of people. A few 
months before his death, he wrote of images waiting to 

Fig. 86. William Zorach. Figure of a Child, 1921. Mahogany, 
24 x 5V2 x 6V4 inches. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edward J. 
Kempf, 70.61, Photograph by Charles Sheeler, 1921. Gift of 
Mr. and Mrs. Tessim Zorach, 79.85 (see PI. 14). 

Fig. 87. William Zorach. The Young Boy, 1921. Maple (or 
mahogany ?), 22V2 x 5 Vi X 5 inches. Promised 50th An- 
niversary Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Tessim Zorach, P. 14. 79. 
Photograph by Charles Sheeler, 1921. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. 
Tessim Zorach, 79.84. 

be released from the rock and the "occult attraction in 
the very shape of a rock as sheer abstract form." 31 Both 
Flannagan and Zorach, in his contemplative stone 
heads carved between 1955 and 1962, were exploring 
subtle differences between stone as rock and stone as 
representation of a living being. 32 The sculptors were 
attempting to see how little the artist needed to alter the 
stone to transform it into a symbol of human life which 
they hoped would remain for eternity. 

The Spaniard Jose de Creeft was a pioneering 
direct carver in Paris, from 1905 to 1928, before coming 
to the United States in 1929. He learned the craftsman- 
ship of carving, beginning in 191 1, by translating clay 
portraits to stone with pointing machines. In 19 17 he 
began to follow the philosophy of direct carving, 
conceiving his designs as he chiseled the block of stone. 

Through eighty years of creating sculpture de Creeft has 
retained his conviction that the human figure is the 
finest subject. In his carvings he favors romantic 
interpretations such as his apparently light and airy 
Cloud of greenstone (PI. 15). De Creeft wrote that da) 
seemed essentially dead to him and that it "had no will 
of its own — no resistence. ... It is soft and too quick to 
bend to your will. . . . The only live thing about a 
modeled form is its armature, which you cover up." i:i 

Although Seymour Lipton is best known as an 
innovative fabricator of abstract metal sculptures, he 
began by carving wood figures during the 1930s. These 
stand apart from the mainstream of American direct 
carvings because of their inventiveness. From the 
beginning Lipton, a self-taught sculptor, found neither 
non-objective nor realistic sculpture complete!) satisfj - 

Fig. 88. Seymour Lipton. Sailor, 193 6. Oak, 18 x 36 x 9 
inches. Gift of the artist, 79.80. 

ing, and he chose to invent partial figures intertwined 
with man-made objects and punctured with voids. 34 
Instead of softly rounded, compact, closed forms, 
Lipton composed with thrusting diagonals, angles, and 
curves offset by clearly demarcated volumes of space. 
Reflecting on Sailor (Fig. 88), he wrote that it illus- 
trated his "early preoccupation with the fusion of 
human and non-human elements. Although realistic, 
there is a formal unity of the rope and the person in the 
Sailor, an architectonic structuring which produced a 
metaphysical activity." 35 Lipton also expressed goals 
more in line with the credo of direct carving — 
organizing the color of the wood, the grain, the shape of 
the forms, the mood of the subject, and the ideas 
implied in the work to suit one another for the greatest 
impact and intensity. 36 The formal solutions he chose 
and the concepts he expressed in his carvings were 
advanced and unusual, foreshadowing the power and 
complexity of his later direct metal non-figurative 

Several design motifs and technical devices typical 
of American direct carvings of the 1930s and 1940s are 
evident in Concetta Scaravaglione's Group (Fig. 89). 
The block is unpierced by voids, and smooth polished 
surfaces which represent human skin contrast with 
textured areas patterned with curved-chisel marks 
which represent hair or the block seat. Softly rounded 
or squarish limbs and forms were used, and jagged or 
sharply angular angry forms were excluded. Scaravagl- 
ione learned to carve from Robert Laurent in 1924 and 
continued to carve until i960. She disseminated her 
feeling for the medium to students at Vassar College 
during the 1930s and again from 195 2 until i967. 37 Like 
many other figurative sculptors represented in the 
Whitney Museum collection, she studied at the Na- 
tional Academy of Design and the Art Students League 
(1916-23), participated in the WPA projects and the 
1939 World's Fair, and exhibited most frequently in the 
Sculptors Guild and the Whitney Museum and 
Pennsylvania Academy annuals. Like Laurent, Herbert 

Fig. 89. Concetta Scaravaglione. Group, 1935. Mahogany, 
24 Va x 10V2 x 10 inches. Purchase, 36.4. 

Ferber, Lipton, Gross, and Calder, Scaravaglione found 
carving too confining for her total artistic expression 
and began constructing additive metal sculptures. She 
and Roszak experimented together with welding tech- 
niques in 1946, and during the ensuing decades she 
fabricated many metal figurative sculptures, enjoying 
the greater freedom and variety of contours, shapes, 
and void/volume interchanges. 

Robert Laurent, who introduced the concepts of 
direct carving to American sculpture, was inspired by 
the primitivist carvings of African Negroes, Gauguin, 
and Picasso which he had seen in Paris in 1907. His 
direct carvings of the 1910s ranged from Art Nouveau 
and realism to strongly primitivist and completely 
abstract works. 38 Until 1927 he carved exclusively, and 
throughout his life he continued to cut alabaster and 
mahogany figurative works sensitive to the special 
qualities of each material. During the 1930s Laurent 
began casting metal works, creating some maquettes by 
carving blocks of plaster and some by modeling clay. 
Kneeling Figure (Fig. 90), which was modeled, is 
characterized by relatively smooth planes, blocky 
forms, heaviness of limbs, and a general abstraction of 
design elements that we associate with carved works. 
Kneeling Figure epitomizes the kind of figurative work 
favored during the 1930s, and indeed it was awarded 


Fig. 90. Robert Laurent. Kneeling Figure, 193 j. Bronze, 
23 V2 x ;/ V4 x /2 inches. Purchase, U>-2. 

the Logan Medal at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1938 
and the Brooklyn Museum Sculpture Prize in 1942. 
Alexander Calder carved more than fifty wood 
sculptures between 1926 and 193 1; Woman (Fig. 91) is 
one. Chaim Gross recalls Calder approaching him at an 
exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists, and 
asking him where he found his unusual woods. Gross 
recommended the J. H. Monteath Company in New 
York where he and Zorach had been purchasing their 
tropical woods. Calder took his advice. 39 

Calder's Wire Sculptures 

Calder began constructing wire drawings in space in 
1925, before his first trip to Paris in 1926. Such works as 
his monumental wire Brass Family (Fig. 92!, which are 
at once sculptural and pictorial, arc an extension of 
single-line drawings he had created between 1923 and 
1925, and were inspired, perhaps, by Jean Crotti's wire 
portrait of Marcel Duchamp of 1915 or Giacomo 
Balla's wire Pas de Deux. The circus theme is promi- 
nent not only in the oeuvre of Calder but also of Walt 

Fig. 91. Alexander Calder. Woman, c ;■;-'•. / Ini, 

24 x 6V2 x 6 inches. Gift of Howard and Jean Lipman, 


Kuhn, Louis Bouche, Chaim Gross, and main other 
artists. Calder made linear draw ings of the Ringling 
Brothers and Barnum cv Baile) t ircus during a two- 
week assignment as a reporter tor the National Polu 1 
Gazette, which published some of the draw ings on Ma) 
2}, 1925. The next year he began to de\ ise his famous 
mechanized circus. '" 

Calder's Belt Buckle (Fig. 9 j) is very similar to his 
several wire portraits of Josephine Baker. 1 ooped curb 
hair, arms flung in a dancer's gestural motion, and 
tightly wound spirals tor abdomen and breasts charac- 
terize both his Hrst Josephine Baker of 192- and the 
brass-wire figurative Belt Buckle of 1935. 

Fig. 92. Alexander Calder. The Brass Family, 1929. Brass 
wire, 64 x 41 x 8V2 inches. Gift of the artist, 69.255. 

Terra-cotta and 
Ceramic Sculpture 

Materials and techniques are the most important 
determinants of style for twentieth-century American 
sculpture, and ceramic sculpture is a more dominant 
part of this art than is generally realized. The particular 
qualities of the ceramic medium have generated un- 
usual figurative works, with significant contributions 
from Alexander Archipenko, Jo Davidson, Elie Nadel- 
man, Isamu Noguchi, Kenneth Noland, John Storrs, 
Reuben Nakian, and later Louise Nevelson, Robert 
Arneson, David Smith, Helen Frankenthaler, and Mary 
Frank. Garth Clark suggests that the austerity of the 
1930s brought attention to and encouraged the use of 
cheaper materials. 41 While this may have been true for 
Nadelman, whose fortune was abruptly wiped out with 
the collapse of the stock market in 1929, it is not a 
sufficient explanation for the appeal of the ceramic 

Fig. 93. Alexander Calder. Belt Buckle (Wire Female Figure), 
1935. Brass, 8 x 5 x V2 inches. Gift of Mrs. Marcel Duchamp 
in memory of the artist, 77.21. 

medium to the others. Noguchi, for example, spent part 
of the years 193 1 and 1932 in Japan learning traditional 
methods and forms and was especially influenced by 
Japanese Haniwa figures and Bizen and Shigaraki 
wares. 42 Haniwa literally means clay circles and 
Noguchi's The Queen (Fig. 94) is assembled of various 
circular terra-cotta forms. Noguchi wrote of his discov- 
ery of the Haniwa grave figures in the Kyoto Museum in 
193 1, "Simpler, more primitive than Tang figurines, 
they were in a sense modern, they spoke to me and were 
closer to my feeling for earth." 43 The Queen, created 
during that "lonely self-incarceration" in Kyoto, is 
quite unlike the other figures he created there which are 
more overtly oriental. Although Noguchi was "trans- 
fixed by [the] vision" of his mentor Brancusi, for whom 
he had worked as a stonecutter in Paris in 1927, and 
The Queen is abstracted in the manner of Brancusi, its 
symmetrical regularity is different from the asymmetry 
of Brancusi's works. 

Reuben Nakian interacted significantly with sev- 
eral of the first-generation modernist sculptors. He was 
an apprentice in Paul Manship's workshop from 191 6 
to 1920, trained there by Manship's assistant Gaston 
Lachaise. From 1920 to 1923 Nakian shared a studio 
with Lachaise on Sixth Avenue. He was given a monthly 

Fig. 94. hamu Noguchi. The Queen, 19 jz. Terra-cotta, 
45V2 x 16 x 16 inches. Gift of the artist, 69.107. 

stipend, studio space, and exhibitions by Mrs. Whitney 
during the 1920s and was represented by the 
Downtown Gallery after 1927. From 1923 and into the 
1930s Nakian was a close friend of Zorach's and 
created a delightful portrait in terra-cotta of Zorach's 
daughter Dahlov entitled The Lap Dog (Fig. 95). 
Ceramic was frequently the medium of choice for 
Nakian, and during the 1940s he added significant 
innovations to its use. 

/ ig. 95. Reuben Nakian. I he Lap Dog i<)i?. Terra-cotta. 
6V2 x 5 x 10V2 inches. Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 


During the [93 os and 1940s the sculptors united to 
participate in the non-juried Annual exhibitions of the 
Whitney Museum were predominantly direct carvers. 
William Zorach, Heinz Warneke, Nathaniel Kaz, 
Chaim Gross, Ahron Bcn-Shmuel, John B. Flannagan, 
Albino Cavallito, Margaret Brcssler Kane, Concetta 
Scaravaglione, Simon Moselsio, Richard Davis, and 
Jose de Creeft were regular exhibitors. Jose de Rivera 
exhibited carvings in 1938 and 1941 and Herbert Ferber 
in 1938, 1940, and 1942. Jo Davidson and Arthur Lee 
exhibited nude figures cast in bronze with rough surface 
textures, and Robert Laurent submitted metal and 
plaster figures instead of the direct carvings usually 
associated with him. 

Early twentieth-century figurative artists were re- 
vitalizing and bringing up to date one of the most 
important sculptural subjects throughout history. 
Zorach, Lachaise, Brenner, Laurent, Baizerman, and 
Robus were born during the 1880s, were trained in 
respected academies of art, and retained their convic- 
tion that the human figure was inspiring and that it \\ as 
the ultimate subject, worthy of a decade or even a 
lifetime of effort. Robus, for one, stated that he did not 
feel sufficiently god-like to create totally new i.e., 
abstract) designs; he felt more comfortable creatine 
organic biological forms. American figurative artists 
were not a cohesive group, but they found a congenial 
atmosphere at the Whitney Museum. Hugo Robus 
wrote to Lloyd Goodrich in [959 that he considered the 
Whitney Museum "a place with which I teel more 
closely integrated than with any other institution." " 
The strong empathy toward organic tonus of early 
twentieth-century figurative artists forced them to 
retain recognizable natural tonus in their sculpture to 
satish their own inner convictions. 


Painting, 1941-1980 


In the early 1940s the dominant preoccupation of 
Americans centered on World War II. The country 
mobilized with urgency: factories converted to war 
production, and young men and women joined the 
armed forces or transferred to defense jobs. To those on 
the home front the war meant the emotional ordeal of 
missed fathers, sons, brothers, and loved ones as well as 
the inconvenience of overcrowded trains, rationed 
gasoline, and food scarcities. Some thought ideologi- 
cally in terms of destroying the social system of Fascism, 
but most simply wanted the war over as soon as 

In their art, painters had a wide range of responses 
to the war and its immediate aftermath. Some of those 
at home, such as the American Scene painters and the 
Social Realists of the 1930s, continued a repre- 
sentational painting with occasional references to the 
war; other artists, influenced by the European Sur- 
realists who had emigrated to New York in the late 
1930s and early 1940s, began to transform figurative 
imagery into abstraction. To those who went overseas 
with the armed forces, opportunities to paint were 
naturally more limited, although some artists were 
assigned to graphic departments and made signs, 

Fig. 96. Philip Pearlstein. Seated Nude on Green Drape, 
1969. ( )ilon canvas, 60 x 48 inches. Giftof the I riends of the 
Whitney Museum of American Art, 70.1. 

designed camouflage, and produced propaganda 
posters. To Jack Levine, who spent a year and a half as .1 
soldier on a South Atlantic island, the "w ar was a void"; 
moreover, the tedium of the Army was "insulation 
against all the great issues of the war." To other artists, 
such as Philip Pearlstein who was in the Italian 
campaign, the war and the Immediate postw ar occupa 
tion by American troops provided the unexpected 
opportunity to see Old Master paintings in the galleries 
and museums of F.urope.' 

Reviewing the 1940s, we can see that it was a 
decade in transition. By its end, painting had polarized 
into representational painting and abstraction, and b) 
the mid-1950s modernism had become the dominant 
mode. In the 1940s modernism meant to main artists 
the search for a personal form to express .1 personal 
content; the emphasis was on expression — of human 
and personal values by abstract means. Hence, when 
the New Yorker critic Robert C oates called this genera- 
tion of modernists "Abstract Expressionists," the term 
caught on. Harold Rosenberg had his own term — 
"action painting" — which emphasized the gestural 
techniques the artists used. More recently the term 
"New York School" has gained currency.* 

In discussing this nomenclature, w hat w e must not 
forget is that these postwar abstractionists shared with 
the figurative artists a humanist bias. However, the 
concept of humanism — the belief in the dignit) of man 
and in human values as well as the aw areness oi human 

Fig. 97. George Crosz. Peace, II, 1946. Oil on canvas, 
47 x 33 ^ inches. Purchase, 47.1. 

limitations — was also in the process of transformation. 
Whereas the figurative artists in the 1900-40 period 
shared an optimistic belief in progress and social justice, 
the mood of many humanist artists, including the 
abstract painters, changed to one of pessimism, de- 
featism, and individual alienation, a mood which lasted 
well into the early 1960s and still lingers today. 

World War II as 
Subject for Painting 

During the war years, a number of the figure paintings 
shown in Whitney Museum Annuals made reference to 

the war and its immediate aftermath, although the 
majority referred to other themes which will be dis- 
cussed shortly. The Annual of 1942 included Joseph 
Hirsch's Together We Fight for the Right to Live; that of 
1943, William Gropper's Partisans, Anton Refregier's 
Terror in Poland, and Mitchell Siporin's Recruits 
Farewell. In 1944, Phifip Evergood's Production for 
Peace and Isaac Soyer's Refugee were shown; and in 

1945 Harry Sternberg's No More War, Sidney Gross's 
Victory, and Ben Shahn's Reconstruction, the latter two 
purchased by the Whitney Museum. The Annual of 

1946 exhibited George Grosz's Peace, II (Fig. 97), also 
purchased by the Whitney Museum. 

Other works with war-related themes entered the 
Museum collection later as gifts, such as Jacob Law- 

Fig. 98. Jacob Lawrence. War Series: Another Patrol, 1946. 
Egg tempera on composition board, 16 x 10 inches. Gift of 
Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger, jj.#. 

Fig. 100. Jacob Lawrence. War Series: Beachhead, 194-. F,gg 
tempera on composition hoard, 16 X 10 inches. Gift of Mr. 
and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger, JT.13. 

Pig- 99- Jacob Lawrence. War Series: Reported Missing, 
1947. Egg tempera on composition board, 16 x 20 inches. 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger, 51.18. 

rence's series of fourteen small panel paintings entitled 
War, completed in 1947. Lawrence, a Harlem artist 
who had established a reputation for his narrative series 
based on the history and biographies of black people, 
joined the U.S. Coast Guard in October 1 94 ^ . He served 
on a weather patrol boat, subsequently the troop carrier 
U.S.S. General Richardson, before his discharge in 
December 1945. 3 

Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1946, 
Lawrence embarked on the project to recapitulate his 
war experiences. The War series does not illustrate a 
continuous narrative, but consists of impressions or 
images, some remembered and some imagined. The 
style is not naturalistic, but derives from the aesthetic 

qualities of collage cubism — painted as though colored 
papers were boldly arranged to give movement to the 
design. Another Patrol (Fig. 98) represents men ascend- 
ing a gangplank, a scene Lawrence would have wit- 
nessed numerous times. Reported Missing (Fig. 99) 
depicts men standing behind barbed wire, a generalized 
view of the endless waiting characteristic of all wartime 
situations. Beachhead (Fig. 100) pictures soldiers with 
bayonets moving left against a backdrop of tanks, as 
medical orderlies move right carrying a wounded 
soldier. As a synthesis of the advance and retreat of 
battle, Beachhead functions as an incisive schema 
rather than a naturalistic view of a single episode. 

As expressionism — the stylistic distortions and 
exaggerations of line, form, and color intended to reveal 
the artist's emotional response to life — was suitable for 
Social Realism, so, too, was it appropriate for the 
themes of war. George Grosz, the Berlin satirist who 
fled Germany when Hitler came to power, subsequently 
settled in New York and taught at the Art Students 
League. In his painting Peace, //, Grosz represented a 
grim survivor emerging from the rubble and twisted 
iron beams of a bombed-out structure. The colors of 
dark umber and ocher fit the mood of desolation. 

Ben Shahn's tempera painting Reconstruction of 
1945 (F'g- 1QI ) projects a more hopeful image. The 
background Roman viaduct locates the scene in Eu- 
rope, probably Italy; in the iconography of modern 
war, the pack of chewing gum held up by the helmeted 
American soldier in the background to the group of 
eager children symbolizes the soldiers' friendly tc.ising 
of the defeated civilian population. In the foreground, 
young European children balance themselves on blocks 
of stone which will soon be used by them in the 
reconstruction of their country. The colors are the gr.n 

I 12 

Fig. 101. Ben Shahn. Reconstruction, 1945. Tempera on 
composition board, 26 x 39 inches. Purchase, 46.4. 

of old marble fragments, the browns of soiled cast-off 
coats, and the pale flesh tones of subsistence living. The 
style uses the simplified disjunctions of montage and the 
distortions of expressionism to reinforce the meaning of 
the painting — that in spite of the desperate humiliation 
of occupation and drawing on the strength of a 
centuries-old culture, Europe will rise again because of 
the energy of its children. 

American Painting 
and the Cold War 

By the end of the 1 940s it had become clear that the end 
of the war had not brought a lessening of tensions, as 
the United States slid into the Cold War. The old 

antagonisms between the capitalist and Communist 
countries intensified. By 1947 the Russians had block- 
aded Berlin; by 1949 Mao Zedong and Communist 
forces had triumphed over Chiang Kai-shek in China; 
and in 1950 the Americans entered the Korean War, 
which was to last until 195 s- These tensions were 
intensified on the home front. In October 1947 the 
House Committee on Un-American Activities opened 
public hearings on "communism" in the film industry. 
Ten writers who refused to testify were charged with 
contempt of Congress and sent to prison. Erik Bar- 
nouw, in his history Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of 
American Television, characterized the political cli- 
mate, where talented people overnight lost their jobs 
and their friends: "Hollywood entered a period of fear. 
Political discussion tended to vanish, but silence itself 
could seem suspicious. The patrioteering speech was 
much in evidence. A blacklist developed." 4 

Painting, 1^41 - ;•» 113 

The Alger Hiss trials of 1949 and [950 and then the 
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg trial and appeals from 19 so 
to 195 }, in which the accused were adjudged guilty' of 
wartime espionage on behalf of the Russians, only 
increased the campaigns against the "internal Red 
menace." "Treason" and "treachery" were indiscrimi- 
nately applied to others who ideologically or 
idealistically were drawn to the ideals of communism or 
who even criticized the free-enterprise system. Artists, if 
they maintained the same feelings of intense social 
concern as they had in the 1930s, were automatically 

At the same time, the literature of existentialism 
began to attract intellectuals to its view that man's 
existence precedes man's essence and that essence was 
"alienation," a condition common to all men. Dore 
Ashton, writing in 19^2 on the background of the 
Abstract Expressionists in The New York School: A 
( Cultural Reckoning, has drawn the connection between 
the flare-up of anti-communism and the attraction of 

As such sensational events as the Alger Hiss case 
swept the red scare into prominence, and as 
McCarthy easily destroyed the solidarity of the 
professionals he attacked, the malaise of the 
intellectuals deepened. Silence fell. Marxism, 
which had once been so vital to artistic discourse, 
faded into the background of new discussions of 
existentialism. The old conflict between indi- 
vidualism and the collective ethic was inter- 
iorized. 5 

Social issues and collective goals were either too 
dangerous or they were rationalized into the back- 
ground as less pressing than personal and psychological 
self- awareness. Freud, and to a lesser extent Jung, 
replaced Marx, and Sartre and Camus supplied the 
Western intelligentsia with a new rhetoric of despair. 

Meanwhile, business and industry were booming, 
suburban tract homes sprang up, television stations 
spread across the country, and home appliances came 
off the assembly lines in increasing numbers. What 
seemed like a rising prosperity for everyone tended, 
however, further to alienate artists who saw a society 
reveling in philistinism. Mark Rothko voiced a com- 
mon sentiment among the Abstract Expressionists 
when he declared in 1947 in the little magazine 
Possibilities I: 

The unfriendliness <>/ so< iety t<> his ,n tivity is 
difficult for the artist i<> ,u c ept. Yet this very 
hostility ( an ./( / as .1 lever for true liberation. I reed 
from a false sense >>f security and community, the 
artist can abandon his plastic bank-book, just as he 
has abandoned other forms of security. Both the 
sense of community and of ><•< urity depend on the 
familiar, Irec <>/ them, transcendental experien 
hei ome possible. 6 

Against this background — with the world l aught 
up in suppressed antagonisms, conflicting ideologies, 
and ambiguous diplomacy and with the nation the 
scene of rising prosperity, imposed conformity, and 
oppressive and subtle censorship — artists formed their 

Much has been written about the New York 
School and the development of Abstract Expressionism 
in the late 1940s and early 1950s. What should not be 
lost sight of are the connections with representational 
painting at the time. Rothko stated in his Possibilities 
article, "1 do not believe that there was ever a question 
of being abstract or representational. It is really a matter 
of ending this silence and solitude, of breathing and 
stretching one's arms again." 7 Both representational 
and abstract art were concerned with the expression of 
feelings and human values. The language of existen- 
tialism permeated the writing of the artists and an 
critics. Painting became the "gratuitous act," and 
"ambiguity," "alienation," and "anxiety" became catch 
words to define the nuances of artistic endeavor. 

Because of many factors, the new abstract painting 
had, by the mid-1950s, achieved a prominence in the art 
world. One factor was the sincere belief that only 
abstract art could adequately express the artist's feel- 
ings. Robert Motherwell voiced this attitude in [951: 

The emergence of abstract art is one sign that there 
are still men able to assert feeling in the u ■< »ld. Wen 
who know how to respect ami follow their inner 
feelings, no matter how irrational or absurd they 
may first appear. From their perspective, it is the 
social world that tends to appear irrational ami 

Even though main representational artists were also 
depicting the social world as irrational and absurd, and 
were in fact abandoning naturalism as inadequate to 
what they wanted to express, it u as the abstract an that 
was being seen in the major galleries, bought bj 


Fig. IOZ. Edward Hopper. Carolina Morning, /yff- Oil on 
canvas, ]o x 40 inches. Given m memory of Otto I.. Spaeth 
by his family, 67.1$. 

adventuresome collectors, written about by the major 
art critics, and sent abroad to influential international 
art shows.'' 

Although increasing numbers of artists abandoned 
representational painting and embraced the new paint- 
erly abstraction, a substantial minority of figurative 
artists weathered the changing art climate. Mature 
figurative artists such as Edward Hopper (Fig. 102.), 
Thomas Hart Benton (PI. 16), Robert Gwathmey, 
(Fig. 103), Isabel Bishop, and Raphael Soycr continued 
to paint either social themes, views of American life, or 
Studio pictures as they had in the 1930s and 1940s. 

But there was also a middle range of American 
artists — neither totally abstract nor traditional. Some 
responded to the postwar temper of anxiety, ambiguity, 
alienation, and even cynicism by probing themes that 
used the figure to express these moods or feelings — 
using styles that combined characteristics of 
naturalism, Cubism, expressionism, and Surrealism. 
( )thers explored the possibilities of the new painterly 
abstraction for investigating and pushing the human 
form to its formal and expressive limits. The first group, 
maintaining its commitment to content over form, 
stayed within the mainstream tradition of humanism, 
although they strained and deflected that tradition. The 
commitment of the second group was primarily to 
modernism, to exploring form and artistic process. 
These two groups defined the perimeters of the history 
of figurative painting through the mid-1960s. 

Such artists as Fvergood and I evme were direct in 

Fig. 105. Robert Gwathmey. Sowing, 1949. Oil on canvas, 
}6 X 40 inches. Purchase, 4<j.i^. 

satirizing those who (to them) were the agents of 
alienation — capitalists, gangsters, policemen, the 
military — although even they softened the bitter 
specificity of their earlier years. Younger artists, how- 
ever, such as Stephen Greene, Robert Vickrey, and Joe 
Lasker, resorted to ambiguous metaphor and veiled 
allusion. To them the "human condition" was not 
specific to an individual or a group at a given time and 
place, as Marxists had said in the 1930s. To them the 
human condition was one of universal alienation in an 
irrational and absurd world. At best, humanity can 
merely endure and never prevail. 

Postwar Figurative Themes: 
"The Human Condition" 

The major postwar themes in figurative painting, which 
paralleled in chronology the rise of Abstract Ex- 
pressionism during the late 1940s and 1950s, included 
the following: crucifixion themes, a single figure alone 
in a vast space or lost in a literal or symbolic labyrinth, 
and ambiguous rituals and sinister revelries of figures 
frequently masked. Sometimes the themes were pushed 
into the realm of satire on man's follies and vanities. 
Right after the war, Rico Lebrun, Stephen Greene, 

Peter Blume, and Philip Evergood probed Christian 
themes — particularly the image of the suffering or 
crucified Christ — to communicate their reaction to the 
war. Greene, who repeatedly alluded to the suffering 
Christ in the late 1940s, recalled his motivation in i<osn: 

/;; the forties I was obsessedin my life. is well as my 
work (there is no separation) by the massacre of 

the Jews in Europe. This led me to reinterpret the 
story of Christ, particularly the events centering 
around the Crucifixion. ( 'hrist is no longer the 
central figure an J torturers are equally involved 
and the tragedy was theirs as well. No one is 

Peter Blume painted Man of Sorrows in i9>i (Fig. 
104) after a trip to Mexico. The emaciated Christ figure 
bears a cross festooned with streamers, and dime-store 
religious amulets hang from his body. The garish 
greens, lavenders, and reds reinforce the repulsiveness 
of the images and the secular qualities of the figure. One 
is tempted to ask, "For what was he crucified?" 

Philip Evergood's The New Lazarus (Fig. 105), 
begun in 191- and completed in 1954, is overwhelmed 

Fig. 104. Peter Blume. Man of Sorrows, 1951. Tempera on 
canvas, z8 x 24 niches. Purchase, ri.j. 

Fig. iO). Philip Evergood. The New Lazarus, 1927 $4. Oil 

on plywood, 48 K83V4 inches. Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhom, S4.60. 


Fig. 106. Siegfried Reinhardt. Crucifixion, 1953. Oil on 
composition board, 28 X 45V2 inches. Gift of William 
Benton, 55.2. 

Fzg. 107. Joe Lasker. Naples, 19^2. Oil on canvas, 34 3 M x jj 
inches. Purchase, 53-50. 

with a symbolism which refers to both the follies and 
the courage of mankind. The folly of passivity is 
personified by the three characters under the umbrella 
at the right in the poses of "Hear no evil, see no evil, 
speak no evil." The agony of sacrifice and war is 
personified by Christ and the soldiers, one of whom is 
stretched along the foreground. The eventual return of 
hope is symbolized by the flayed lamb, which ap- 
proaches Christ with a burning cross, and Lazarus, who 
is raised from his coffin while his soul — a butterfly- 
winged woman — enters his body. 

Life magazine, in its issue of March 13, 1950, 
reproduced the work of nineteen "exceptionally prom- 
ising" American artists under the age of thirty-six who 
had been selected as the result of a poll of heads of 
museums, art schools, and college art departments. In 
the final selection, the questions posed by Life's editors 
about the artists was: "Do they have anything worth- 
while to express and do they get it across? Do they 
reflect feelings of hope, or are they harsh expressions of 
despair?" 11 In other words, expressions of strong 
human emotion were important considerations, but 
often the line between hope and despair was ambigu- 

One of the finalists was Siegfried Reinhardt, whose 
work both in oil and stained glass was religious in its 
imagery. His Crucifixion of 1953 (Fig. 106) depicts 
Christ and an anonymous man who fingers a draw- 
string from his shirt. Reinhardt explained the motif of 
the string, which recurs in other works: "It started as a 
thin form to relieve great masses and to create a 
sensation of space. Perhaps it has now psychological 
significance too. We're all conscious of the thread of life. 

In some instances it becomes a symbol of the thin traces 
of the human spirit." 12 

Another of Life's nineteen was Stephen Greene. A 
later Life issue, October 23, 1950, featured a spread of 
Greene's pictures, including The Burial of 1947 
(Fig. 108). The article summed up Greene's work for a 
Life readership which ran into the millions: 

Greene's canvases are not ingratiating. Peopled by 
sad, mannikinlike men, they have a strained and 
morbid cast. Many of them are based on religious 
subjects. Greene does not call himself a religious 
man but, because biblical stories are universally 
recognized and easily understood, he used them to 
communicate his own feelings on the state of 
modern man —a state Greene considers to be 
chaotic and insecure." 

Greene's hairless and barely clothed cripples (two 
without legs and one without sight) in The Burial exist 
in a spatially ambiguous setting given compositional 
definition by the horizontals and verticals of coffin, 
coffin lid, candle, and gray wall. Their lives are an 
agony without contest, only futility. They are 
metaphors for, in the words of Greene, "man's final 
isolation, man suffering not so much for others but for 
himself and his own sense of incompleteness. My 
concept of man is essentially a tragic one. It is derived 
from the idea that man is inherently and originally good 
and that he subsequently falls into evil." 14 In the 
mid-1950s, the museum-going public, largely middle 
class and similarly affected by the cultural climate, 

Painting, 1941—19 11 7 

Fig. 108. Stephen Greene. The Burial, 1947. Oil on canvas, 41 x $S inches. Purchase, 49.(6. 

found such confessions authentic and the critical in- 
terpretations of the mass media persuasive. 

In Boston, a strong strain of expressionism charac- 
terized the late 1940s and 1950s, a time when German- 
born Karl Zerbe was head of the Painting Department 
at the Museum School, and when Max Beckmann and 
Oscar Kokoschka also taught there for brief periods. 
The Institute of Modern Art (now the Institute of Con- 
temporary Art) brought to Boston exhibitions of the 
work of Rouault in 1940, Ensor in 1944, and Soutine 
in 1945. 15 Hyman Blooms brilliantly colored mature 
work of the 1940s included mystical and occult imagery 
as well as decaying corpses. The subject of his painting 
The Anatomist of 1953 (Fig. 109) shares a common 
theme with other expressionist paintings in its repre- 

sentation (and here quite literally) of the search for 
understanding and knowledge within the corpse of 
violated and already destroyed man. 

Reinhardt's style, inspired by the tradition of 
stained glass, drew upon the decorative design qualities 
of Cubism; Greene's style benefited from Surrealism's 
freedom to manipulate open space and scale; Bloom 
drew from sources as wide-ranging as Rembrandt and 
Jackson Pollock's She-Wolf of 194 j (The Museum of 
Modern Art). Naturalism, as practiced 111 the 1 9 jos, 
could not adequately communicate their intense 
feelings about the tenuousness of human values. 
Humanism, the concern with man, seems to have taken 
a darker turn. 16 Indeed, by concentrating and absolutiz- 
ing what we have described as one aspect of humanism. 

Fig. 109. Hyman Bloom. The Anatomist, 1953. Oil on 
canvas, 70V2 x 40V2 inches. Purchase, 54.17. 

these artists moved out of the humanist tradition — or 
at least to its furthest margin. 

As time passed from the late 1940s to the mid- 
1950s, the specific references to the war, to the 
Holocaust, to the grim reality of postwar reconstruc- 
tion had given way to more generalized assessments. In 
the period of transition, artists, including Bloom and 
Greene, had swung from communicating a message of 
social concern to communicating feelings and intu- 
itions. Evil became not the ruthless actions of men 
making wars and accumulating capital, but an insol- 
uble mystery in which the victims were equally guilty. 

Figures lost in maze-like environments were 
another common theme at this time. Robert Vickrey 
painted The Labyrinth in 19 51 (Fig. no), claiming that, 
"Beyond a sense of spiritual desolation, there is no 
attempt at any literary symbolism in the picture." Yet 

the mere description creates a story: the nun, who 
perhaps symbolizes organized religion, has lost her way 
at night in a labyrinth papered with tattered circus 
posters; suddenly she shrieks in horror as she sees her 
image reflected in a warped, fun-house mirror. The dry 
medium such as casein, the illustrational technique, the 
preoccupation with textured surfaces (grass, old walls, 
etc.), the suggestion of a modern Gothic story also 
characterize the qualities of many of the tempera 
paintings of Andrew Wyeth. 17 

Mystery and frustration are also implied in 
Tooker's The Subway of 1950 (Fig. in) whose terrified 
figures emerge from the long baroque perspectives of 
subway corridors to a center area enclosed by more 
barriers. In his use of the egg-tempera medium, Tooker 
followed the lead of Paul Cadmus. Jared French also 
worked in egg tempera on paper in his enigmatic The 
Rope of 1954 (Fig. 112), where three older men hold 
ropes attached to younger men. Fathers and sons 
become rescuers and swimmers; the theme of survival 
in an alien world of potentially drowning men and 
women had currency in other art forms of the time. 
Moreover, the highly disciplined and painstaking tech- 
nique of egg tempera as used by Cadmus, Tooker, 
French, and Wyeth — the very opposite to the "action 
painting" of the contemporaneous New York 
School — infused their imagery of apprehension with 
the chilling quality of precalculation. 

The themes of jesters and carnivals, of revelry 
without joy, of formal ritual without content were 
related themes that engaged figure painters in the late 
1940s and 1950s. Henry Koerner, born in Austria of 
Jewish parents, fled to America upon graduating from 

Fig. no. Robert Vickrey. The Labyrinth, 195 1. Casein on 
composition board, 32 x 48 inches. Juliana Force Purchase, 52. 

Fig. i 1 1. George Tooker. The Subway, 1950. Egg tempera on 
composition board, 18 x 36 inches. Juliana Force Purchase, 50.13. 

the Vienna Academy of Design. Later, his wartime 
experience in Europe with the O.S.S. made a lasting 
impression on him: 

In London I started to draw in earnest filling five 
sketch books of war-torn London. Since part of 
the veneer of civilization was bombed off, love, 
eating, sleeping, merrymaking, and the absurdity 
of Hyde Park speakers was going on right before 
my eyes. In 1945, we came to Germany . . . Berlin 
and the Nurenburg Trials. With all the tragedy in 
England, there had been still humor left. But 
Germany now was completely morbid. The whole 
veneer of civilization was torn off. You could see 
the raw flesh and bones. Through the hole made by 
a Russian gun, you could glimpse into the bed- 
room of a woman without a man. Reality had 
turned into surreality . . . "normal" life into exis- 
tentialism. People with starved earthen faces and 
sores stood in the rubble . . . warriors coming 
home with feet wrapped in rags and newspapers 
. . . a faint memory had come to life again. 18 

In Koerner's Vanity Fair of 1946 (PI. 17), a man 
leans out a window while a nude woman reclines on a 
bed. He peers around the corner to see several urban 
vignettes: an elderly couple on a front porch, children 
listening to a street accordionist, dancers at a dance hall, 
women trying on coats from a sale rack, figures 
participating in a ritual of eating and drinking (com- 

munion? taking pills in a mental institution?). In the 
distance men hoe a garden while a naked Cain triumphs 
over a bound Abel. In the distance a carnival with roller 
coaster and Ferris wheel lights up the sky; in the 
foreground rats scurry under a bridge. Koerner orders 
space and scale irrationally but contains the overall 
image in an oval composition (as if reflected in a 

Fig. 111. Jared French. The Rope, 1954. I gg tempera on 
paper, 13V2 x 74 '4 inches. Charles I. Williams lun J. J6.3. 

Fig. 113. Mitchell Siporin. Dancers by the Clock, 7949. Oil 
on canvas, 40V2 x 60 inches. Purchase, ^o.iz. 

Christmas tree ball), thereby strengthening the vanity- 
fair theme — the picaresque and episodic quality of a 
modern life without reason, morals, or goals. 

The pathetic vanity of man is also the theme of 
Cadmus's beach scene, Fantasia on a Theme by Dr. S. of 
1946 (PI. 18). The thin ectomorph sitting on a hard 
bench looks up from his book, Varieties of Physique & 
Temperament, to admire the muscle-bound 
mesomorph going through his calisthenics while a 
bloated, hot-dog gorging endomorph, seated in a 
comfortable wicker chair, surveys the scene. On the 
steps of the porch is a crumpled paper, the letters of 

which either headline an atomic explosion or banner 
the stories of a comic book — the motif seems sardon- 
ically unclear. Cadmus, too, has turned away from the 
humanist concern for the dignity of man and has 
absolutized human limitations as he picks at man's 
follies with a vengeance. 

Mitchell Siporin's Dancers by the Clock of 1949 
(Fig. 113) depicts the solemn festivities of tuxedoed men 
and gowned women interspersed with the brass section 
of a band. The background heads push forward, 
diminishing the figures in the foreground. A gray pallor 
deadens the New Year's Eve gaiety of the celebrants. 
More raucously boisterous is Philip Evergood's The 
Jester of 1950 (Fig. 114). Clowns, jesters, and carnival 
people had been the subject matter of Max Beckmann, 
whom Evergood admired; Alton Pickens and Karl 
Zerbe (see Fig. 115) also explored the theme. In Ever- 
good's painting Death sits in a chair at the left and the 
artist sits at the right with palette, paintbrush, and 
canvas in his hands. Evergood catalogued his sym- 
bolism in an interview conducted by John Baur. To the 
far right is an Etruscan figure which represented "the 
war that has threatened us all our lives. . . . And then 
. . . the little rotund juggler of Wall Street juggling his 

Fig. 774. Philip Evergood. 

The Jester, 7950. 

Oil on canvas, 72 x 96 inches. 

Gift of Sol Brody 

(subject to life interest), 


Painting, 1941— 1980 u\ 

Fig. nj. KarlZerbe. Harlequin, 1943. Encaustic on canvas, 

44 x ;4 inches. Purchase, 4^.8. 

eggs and very content . . . and the big nudes that might 
symbolize the nations of the world, all prosperous and 
having a great time." The witches' brew with skull 
floating in it symbolized "the language of the politi- 
cians." Quite consciously, Evergood added the ironic 
touch of the three ballet dancers on the back of Death's 
chair, with the three skeletons on his own. He liked the 
reversal because "that's the way it is in life, very 
often." I9 Evergood's Jester is less specific than Lily and 
the Sparrows (PI. 10), more a generalized idea of the 
follies of the time than a poignant rendering of a real 
ghetto child. 

Jack Levine, whose earlier work falls under the 
rubric of Social Realism, painted Gangster Funeral in 
1952-53 (Fig. 116), a ritual of the burial of a gangland 
boss. John Baur, writing in 1961, noted the change 
which occurred in the content of Levine's painting and 
that of the other Social Realists: 

Today the distortions, which are the hallmark of 
expressionism, tend to be subtler and are generally 
aimed at a more profound analysis of human 
character, with its multiple shadings and 
paradoxes of virtue and frailty. The contrast is 
nowhere more apparent than in a comparison of 

Fig. 116. Jack Levine. Gangster Funeral, /9J2-53. Oil mi 
canvas, 63 x jz inches. Purchase, S3.42. 

Levine's early and late work. The cops, gangsters, 
and politicians who inhabit The Feast of Pure 
Reason of 1937 (Museum of Modern Art) are 
savagely caricatured "types"; they reappear in 
Gangster Funeral 0/7952-5-3 as believable mem- 
bers of the human race, looking uncannily like 
people we remember. They are not more realist- 
ically painted, but the distortions spring from 
understanding rather than hate. They are used to 
plumb character rather than to create it in the 
image of the artists indignation. To varying de- 
grees a similar evolution max he traced in the work 
ofShahn, Evergood, and others. . . . It is a 
development which seems to correspond, on the 
stylistic plane, with the growing maturity of these 
artists and the altered climate of our times. 20 

Whether or not the artists had indeed matured or 
whether they had simply changed, the climate had 
changed. Human limitations, which had become the 
major theme in representational painting, now included 
servility, venality, and corruptibility. As the anger in 
artists subsided, they began to tolerate with a certain 
amount of bitterness what they previously had con- 
demned as the baser human motives, such as selfishness 
and avariciousness. At times they drifted toward 
otherworldliness and a preoccupation with fantasy, as 
Evergood did, or they turned to abstraction as a way 


The 1950s New York Art Scene 
and the "Triumph" of Abstract 

One characteristic of the climate of the early 1950s 
seems to be the relative consensus of opinion among 
museum directors and curators in New York City. It 
seemed that, along with art journalists, critics, and 
dealers, they were all working in concert to promote the 
younger postwar artists, particularly the abstract 
artists. In 1952, Dorothy Miller and Alfred Barr, 
Curator and Director respectively of the Museum 
of Modern Art, organized 15 Americans; in 1956, 
they organized 12 Americans. Both exhibitions pre- 
sented the painting and sculpture of a group of 
younger Americans whom Barr and Miller felt had 
promise. These two exhibitions emphasized abstract 
art, but there were works by figurative artists. In 1954 
Art in America magazine, under the editorship of Jean 
Lipman, began an annual poll of leading museum 
directors and curators in order to ascertain and "present 
to the public a sampling of the many talented young or 
relatively unpublicized painters and sculptors working 
in various parts of the country." 21 The poll was 
conducted each year for ten years. The chairman for the 
first year was Lloyd Goodrich; other members of the 
panel included John Baur, who had recently joined the 
Whitney Museum staff as Curator, Dorothy Miller, and 
James Thrall Soby, also of the Museum of Modern Art. 
Of the artists whose names the panel submitted, the 
editors of Art in America selected twenty-seven artists, 
mostly abstract, but four were figurative painters whose 
work entered the Whitney Museum collection during 
the 1950s: Robert Vickrey, Herbert Katzman, David 
Park, and Grace Hartigan (then listed as George 
Hartigan). They were neither naturalist, Regionalist, 
nor Social Realist; "place" was not geographically but 
psychologically located, and social class was ignored or 
considered irrelevant. 

The publicity afforded by art magazines and 
mass-market magazines, such as Life, or Fortune, 
which advocated selective investment in the new ten- 
dencies, 22 was not deprecated. Older realist artists 
might well have felt that a conspiracy existed on 
Fifty-seventh Street and in the art magazines to promote 
abstract art and formal values at the expense of realism 
and social commentary. 

Figurative painting never disappeared, but it did 
have minority status. Although by the late 1950s the 

Museum of Modern Art overwhelmingly favored the 
abstract, non-figurative artists in their shows Sixteen 
Americans of 1959 and The New American Painting, 
sent abroad in 1958-59, the Whitney Museum in its 
Annuals and in its special exhibitions included a 
substantial number of representational artists. The 
New Decade exhibition held at the Whitney Museum in 
1955 is a case in point: along with abstract artists 
Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Richard Pousette-Dart, 
and Bradley Walker Tomlin (by then an abstract artist), 
there were the figurative artists Stephen Greene, Alton 
Pickens, George Tooker and Robert Vickrey as well as 
the abstract artists for whom the figure was central to 
their imagery, Willem de Kooning and Herbert 
Katzman. However, by the 1959 Annual, abstract art 
was dominating the presentations by a margin esti- 
mated at about three to one (107 out of 145 works), 23 
which prompted a group of twenty-two figurative 
artists to write in protest to the Director, Lloyd 
Goodrich. Goodrich defended the selections in his reply 
to Joseph Hirsch, dated May 9, i960: 

We believe there is good art and bad art in both the 
figurative and abstract schools. As to the figurative 
school, the large academic exhibitions are filled 
with art which in our opinion has no more artistic 
merit than the run-of-the-mill abstract products. 
We believe that it is our responsibility to exhibit 
what we consider to be good in all tendencies. Our 
exhibitions are based on our judgment of quality, 
and not on "proportional representation. " 24 

The curatorial staff did not see naturalism and 
academic realism as coping with the central issues of the 
time — either aesthetic or humanist. However, the 
Whitney Museum did not ignore figure painting and 
continued to support and acquire it. 

Much has been written about de Kooning's large 
paintings of women done from 1950 to 1953, including 
his Woman and Bicycle of 1952- 53 (PI. 19), and still 
their meaning eludes the viewer. 25 Some see the subject 
as a nasty, vulgar product of an arch misogynist; others 
see the women as joyful and loving excursions into the 
female form. Grace Hartigan, who interpreted the 
women as loving, but the paint as violent, related the 
following story to Cindy Nemser in 1975 : 

/ saw most of these women being created in Bill's 
studio. When they were shown, I had a big 
argument with Jim Fitzsimmons who is now the 

editor of Art International. He said that they were 
destructive; that it was hatred. Kali the hlood 
goddess. He pointed to one painting that had hig. 
palette-knife strokes slithering across the chest and 
he said, "Look, de Kooning is wounding her with 
blood. " So I went to Bill and said, "Jim Fitzsim- 
mons said you stabbed that woman and that is 
blood. " Bill said, "Blood? I thought it was 
rubies. " 26 

De Kooning seems to have been ambivalent, with his 
own verbal responses often couched in riddles. Some 
ten years after he painted them, de Kooning remarked: 
"I look at them now and they seem vociferous and 
ferocious. I think it had to do with the idea of the idol, 
the oracle, and above all the hilariousness of it." 27 

Most critics and artists agree, however, that the 
importance of de Kooning for other painters lies in the 
energy of a style that suggests "painting situations" 
rather than studio pictures. 28 Accentuating painterly 
gesture and celebrating ambiguity, de Kooning's paint- 
ings suggest the search for a resolution to the inter- 
penetration of form and space and for a synthesis of 
implicit feeling and explicit paint handling. To those 
who admired de Kooning, art was a process rather than 
a product, and it was important that he left naked the 
traces of his search — the abrupt stops and tentative or 
explosive starts, the erasures and the scrapings. 23 The 
end product, however, in each of the Woman paint- 
ings was an image of human energy — a dialectical 
synthesis of de Kooning's drive and his subject's latent 
potency — contained within the rectangular controls of 
the picture's edges. 

De Kooning's unwavering example inspired a 
generation of painters. The figure in the carpet, the 
image caught in the dense and robust texture of paint 
with canvas surface a palpable reality — these became 
under de Kooning's influence the concerns of other 
artists as well. 

The New York School 

Fig. nj. Willem de Kooning. Woman Acabonic, 1966. Oil 
on paper mounted on canvas, 80 V2 x } 6 inches. <■ <ift < >f Mrs. 
Bernard F. (Umbel, 67.75. 

Like others of the younger generation of artists, Grace 
Hartigan began her career in the 1940s painting 
abstractions. At the time she intensely admired the 
work of Jackson Pollock, and then, partly influenced by 
de Kooning as well as her own need to find her roots in 
the Old Masters, she moved toward figuration. Critic 

Clement Greenberg and art historian Meyer Schapiro 
noticed her work and included her in the 1950 New 
Talent show at the Kootz Gallery. She was also included 
in the Art in America 19^4 new talent issue, and 
subsequently included in the Museum of Modern Art's 
1956 exhibition of Turtle Americans. 

Fig. 118. Grace Hartigan. Grand Street Brides, 19 s 4- Oil on 
canvas, 72 x iozVi inches. Anonymous gift, ss-2-7- 

Hartigan's Grand Street Brides of 1954 (Fig. 118) 
represents her urge to reconcile style and subject. In 
1975, Hartigan recalled the circumstances of the paint- 

My studio was two blocks from Grand Street, 
where there's one bridal shop after another. I'm 
very interested in masks and charades — the face 
the world puts on to sell itself to the world — and in 
empty ritual. I thought of weddings as court 
scenes, like Goya and Velazquez —all the trap- 
pings, the gowns, the lace, and those blank, mad 
stares that the king, the queen, and the princes 
have on their faces. I posed the bridal party that 
way. I bought a bridal gown at a thrift shop and 
hung it in the studio. Every morning I'd go out and 
stare at the bridal shop windows and then come in 
and paint. 30 

The preoccupation with "empty ritual" relates Harti- 
gan to other figurative painters working in the early 
1950s, such as Philip Evergood and Mitchell Siporin. 

The difference is that in her work she struck a balance 
between the demands of subject — to be understood as 
metaphor — and the demands of the Abstract Ex- 
pressionist gestural technique — to reveal the artist's 
process and search for form. Also, in Hartigan's Grand 
Street Brides the ritual involves women. 31 

Although de Kooning's influence was most impor- 
tant, Hans Hofmann was also an inspirational figure. 
According to the recent assessment of art historian 
Irving Sandler, "Hofmann's painting was not regarded 
as highly as de Kooning's, but he was widely considered 
to be America's greatest art teacher." 32 

In his classes in New York and in Provincetown 
during the summers, Hofmann set up still-life arrange- 
ments or hired models in order for the students to study 
the interrelationships between objects and space, be- 
tween volumes and planes. He was famous for explain- 
ing composition in terms of the "push and pull" that 
was activated between the elements within the canvas. 
In Hofmann's paintings planes of warm and cool hues, 
with their properties of optical illusionism, seem to 
move forward or behind the picture plane. The goal was 

Painting, /s»4 / - i 



Fig. 119, LeeKrasner. Imperfect Indicative, 1976. Collage on 
canvas, 78 x ~i inches. Gift of Frances and Sydney Lewis. 

to achieve .1 balance ol the "push and pull." Although 
I lofmann's finished work was abstract, the work ol 

mam ol his students dealt with figures held in tension 
between illusionism and the tlat picture plane. I he 
younger generation of I lotmann students included 
I arrj Rivers, Lee Krasner, Jan Muller, Jane Freilicher, 
Myron Stout, Nell Blaine, and Fritz Bultman. Krasner's 
Imperfect Indicative of 1976 Fig. [19 consists of a 
collage of figure drawings done in Hofinann's classes. 
(The painting, however, also recalls de Kooning's 
incorporation of drawings into his series ol Woman 

One of the most expressionist of Hofinann's 
students was Jan Muller, who pamted The Temptation 
of St, Anthony in [957 (Fig. 120). Muller left Hof- 
mann's studio in 1950 and by the mid-1950s had 
evolved his own unique style that merged expressionist 
primitivism with a Matisse-like sensith it) to color and 

Fig. izo. Jan Muller. The Temptation of St. Anthony. 1957. 
Oil on canvas, 79 ■ 120*4 inches. Purchase, 72.30. 


forms in space. More than any others, his works recall 
the intensity of Fauvism and German Expressionism. 
Sandler situates Miiller's place as an expressionist 
abstract painter within the New York School: 

It was the seriousness of Miiller's pictures that 
made them acceptable at the least to the New York 
School, and this despite their explicit, literary 
themes (anathema to "modernists"); their utter 
lack of irony, though not of touches of grim 
humor; and their relationship to German Ex- 
pressionism, which was belittled as outworn and 
lacking in pictorial values. But it was clear that 
Muller's archetypal vision was his own and that it 
did not rely only on subject matter but was realized 
in the painting and design. M 

Miiller unfortunately died in 1958, before he had a 
chance to bring to fruition his talent and his promise. 
Similar to Muller's work in its emotional expressionism 
is the work of Robert Beauchamp, who has carried on 
expressionist portraiture in the tradition of Soutine, 
Dubuffet, and Karel Appel. 

California Figure Painting 

On the West Coast three painters, David Park, Richard 
Diebenkorn, and Elmer Bischoff, developed in the 
1950s what has become known as Bay Area Figurative 
Painting, which centered first at the California School of 
Fine Arts in San Francisco. All three were teachers there 
at one time or another, and by the 1950s all three had 
adjusted Abstract Expressionism to the tradition of the 
studio picture, of the figure in a controlled or structured 

Throughout the 1940s, Park, influenced by Mark 
Rothko and Clyfford Still, who taught with him at the 
C.S.F.A., painted abstractly. At the end of 1949, 
however, he abruptly returned to the figure and un- 
loaded his expressionist abstractions in the Berkeley 
dump. 34 In 1954 Park recalled his years of abstraction 
and his change to figurative concerns: 

During that time I was concerned with big abstract 
ideals like vitality, energy, profundity, warmth. 
They became my gods. They still are. I disciplined 
myself rigidly to work in ways I hoped might 
symbolize those ideals. I still hold to those ideals 

today, but I realize that those paintings practically 
never, even vaguely, approximated any achieve- 
ment of my aims. Quite the opposite: what the 
paintings told me was that I was a hard-working 
guy trying to be important. . . . I have found that in 
accepting and immersing myself in subject matter I 
paint with more intensity and that the "hows" of 
painting are more inevitably determined by the 
"whats. " I believe that my work has become freer of 
arbitrary mannerisms. . . . 35 

The figure types he evolved, such as the bathers in 
Four Men of 1958 (PI. 20), are defined with large, flat 
brushstrokes which sweep around contours, playing off 
stark sunlit areas against warm brown shadows. The 
painterly surface of colored form and colored ground 
creates a dynamic tension with the spatial recession of 
overlapping forms and diminishing sizes. Park, an 
amateur pianist, preferred the jazz sessions with his 
friends but he played Mozart and Bach when by 
himself. 36 Analogously the free and improvisational 
quality of Park's paintings rests upon an essentially 
Cubist, formal structure. 

Elmer Bischoff, after serving in an Army intelli- 
gence unit in England during the war, returned to 
California, and from 1946 to 1952 he taught at the 
California School of Fine Arts where he also developed 
as an abstract painter. In 195 2, following Park's lead, he 

Fig. 111. Elmer Bischoff. Seated Figure in Garden, 1958. Oil 
on canvas, 48 x 57 inches. Purchase, 19.2. 

Painting, 1941—19 117 

Fig. 122. Nathan Oliveira. Bather 1, 1959. Oil on canvas, 
52V2 x 45 inches. Gift of Mrs. Iola S. Haverstick, 66.7. 

turned to compositions in which ordinary figure sub- 
jects inhabit familiar domestic spaces.'* 7 Bischoff 
achieved an unaffected painterliness in his Seated 
Figure in Garden of 1958 (Fig. 121) by orchestrating 
with large brushstrokes form, color, style, and subject 
into a unified and intensely personal image. However, 
Bischoff allied himself with the first generation of 
Abstract Expressionists when he said in 1956: "What is 
most desired in the final outcome is a condition of form 
which dissolves all tangible facts into intangibles of 
feeling." 38 

Richard Diebenkorn, the youngest of the trio, 
attended C.S.F.A. right after the war, where he came 
under the influence of David Park and the other abstract 
painters working there. By the autumn of 1947, he 
himself was teaching at the institution. Working 
abstractly, by 1955 Diebenkorn began to feel uneasy 
about his facility, as he recalled: "It was almost as 
though 1 could do too much too easily. There was 
nothing hard to come up against. And suddenly the 
figure paintings furnished a lot of this." 39 He turned to 
representational painting, still life, and particularly 
landscape, often including a single figure to define the 
planes of the space. Diebenkorn's Girl Looking .it 
Landscape of 1957 (PI. 2.1) is a structured canvas 
recalling Matisse's compositions in which large hori- 
zontal and vertical rectangles and bars interlock into a 
flat patterned design. The color modulations in the 
paintings of this period, often dark blues, grayed pinks, 

and pale ochers accented by a sweeping band <>i soft 
orange or .1 wedge of lime-green, suggest the contractu 
tory sensations of Bay Area weather: bright, sunny 
warmth and chill) shadow s. 1 or his coloration and the 

qualm of his light, Diebenkorn is probabl) the most 
regional of the three. 

Decorative Abstraction: 
The Figure in the Carpet 

The figure as part of a decorative pattern, both less 
intensely expressionist than de Kooning's and less 
structured than Diebenkorn's but still abstract, found 
its way onto the canvases of other artists during the 

Fig. iz ,\ Eugenie Baizerman. A Quiet Scene, .. ^47. ( hi on 
canvas, 78 ■ <;j i>hhc>. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. 
Neuberger (and purchase), 61.29. 

Fig. 124. Abraham Rattner. Song of Esther, 195X. Oil on 
composition board, 60 x 48 inches. Gift of the Friends of the 
Whitney Museum of American Art, 58.36. 

1950s. By 1955 critics noted the "impressionist" quality 
of many Abstract Expressionist works. Canvases first 
assumed to be revelations of the artists' personal 
feelings became, to many, very lyrical, all-over designs of 
subtlety and beauty. 40 Eugenie Baizerman's A Quiet 
Scene of about 1947 (Fig. 123) at first glance impresses 
the viewer as an "abstract impressionist" mosaic of 
short choppy strokes of pink, yellow, blue, green, and 
purple hues. Gradually we become aware that strokes 
coalesce into a pink nude figure, flanked by two figures, 
one of whom holds a baby. The effort of seizing the 
central image in our minds, while we are distracted by 
the pictorial aggressiveness of the strokes which fill the 
negative spaces, creates a perceptual tension — but one 
which amuses rather than disturbs us. 

Abraham Rattner used a similar artistic playful- 
ness in his Song of Esther of 1958 (Fig. 124). Recalling 
Picasso's theme of artists painting models, the subject in 
Rattner's painting is an abstracted image of an artist, at 
the right, with palette in hand, next to an easel. The 
picture within the picture is equally abstract, presum- 
ably an abstract representation of "Esther." Once we 
recognize that it is a figure and begin to associate the 
inevitable hierarchy of values that attends the image of 
the human figure, the strokes around the image become 
mere decorative play of highly keyed color wedges and 

Fig. 125. Herbert Katzman. Two Nudes Before Japanese 
Screen, 19 52. Oil on composition board, 76 x 43 inches. 
Juliana Force Purchase, S3-5- 

rectangles. We become aware not only of the unequal 
signification values of signs (acknowledging that the 
human figure tends to be more highly charged than 
other signs) but we also become aware of the interplay 
between perception and conception, and of our own 
activity in sorting them out. 41 Thus the spectator feels 
that his or her individual aesthetic response shares in the 
creative act which demands both an intuitive and 
intellectual grasp. As Marcel Duchamp said in a 
different context: "All in all, the creative act is not 
performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the 
work in contact with the external world by deciphering 
and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds 
his contribution to the creative act." 42 To these artists 
there is no conflict between aesthetic values and the 

Painting, 1^41 - v> [29 

humanist values that treasure the individual's par- 
ticipator)' response with an an object. 

If the figure can be neutralized, it then has the 
greatest potential for being treated decoratively. In the 
tradition of the desexuali/ed nudes of Puvis de 
Chavannes and Matisse, the anonymous female has 
been assigned this position of neutral decorativeness. 
Herbert Katzman, included in the Museum of Modern 
Art's rj Americans exhibition of [952 and the 
Whitney Museum's New Decade show of [95 s, used 
the same bright, pure colors as Rattner, slightly limiting 
the number but not the range of the spectrum, in his 
Two Nudes Before Japanese Screen of [952 (Fig. 125). 
We recognize the nudes, but they no more pull on our 
humanity than the other formal elements in the work. 
Katzman recalls that at that time he thought there was 
something sinful in not using color straight from the 
tube. 4 '' Early influenced by German and French Ex- 
pressionist painters, specifically Soutine, he looked for a 
means to give organization to his painting and found it 
in the expressive deployment of color. 

Compared with the outpouring of abstract and 
decorative nudes in the 1950s, de Kooning's paintings 
of women were indeed radically different. He reminds 
us of Picasso who, when he painted Les Demoiselles 
d' Avignon, declared that the nude was not neutral. The 
messy vigor of de Kooning's paint handling and the 
potential viciousness of his females are far from the 
decorativeness of Katzman. Unlike the perceptual ten- 
sion of Baizerman's nudes, de Kooning's Woman and 
Bicycle operates on the level of conceptual tension — 
vacillating between contradictory views of the nature of 
art (process or product), as well as of figure/ground 

But the question remains: Is de Kooning concerned 
with human values? Art historian Meyer Schapiro, in 
his essay "On the Humanity of Abstract Painting" of 
i960, attempted to reconcile humanism and abstrac- 
tion: "It is the painter's constructive activity, his power 
of impressing a work with feeling and the qualities of 
thought that gives humanity to art; and this humanity 
may be realized with an unlimited range of themes or 
elements of form." 44 Furthermore, Schapiro may well 
have had de Kooning in mind when he described the 
humanity of abstract art: "What we see on the canvas 
belongs there and nowhere else. But it calls up more 
intensely than ever before the painter at work, his 
touch, his vitality and mood, the drama of decision in 
the ongoing process of art." '•' Although Schapiro was 
writing at the time about Cezanne and abstract painting 

in general, during the [95OS he was Jose to de Kooning; 

indeed, it was Schapiro who encouraged de Kooning to 
finish Woman /, at a tune w hen de Kooning had 
abandoned it. Although Schapiro's net is cist so wide as 
to encompass practical!) all art, there were differences 
in the "humanity" depicted in late- 19 sos painting. Peter 
Selz, Curator of Exhibitions for the Museum ot Modern 
Art, singled out a distinctive strain, or sensibility, ot 
humanism in his New Images <>f Man exhibition held in 
1959, a show which included de Kooning. 

The u New-Image-of-MarT 

The New Images of Man exhibition included both 
American and European painting and sculpture, of 
which the American painters were Richard Diebenkorn, 
Leon Golub, Balcomb Greene, Willcm de Kooning, 
Rico Lebrun, James McGarrell, Jan Miiller, Nathan 
Oliveira, and Jackson Pollock. 4 " What the exhibition 
did was to give a name — "new image of man" — to the 
direction which the pessimistic side of humanist paint- 
ing had taken since the war. It was less a style, a 
technique, or an iconography than it was a 
sensibility — a sensibility projected by the paintings 
themselves which were interpreted (and even over- 
interpreted) in a special way by writers, critics and the 
gallery-going public throughout the 19SOS and early 

In the introduction to Selz's catalogue theologian 
Paul Tillich blamed the continuing Cold War for 
polarizing artists into two groups: those who ignore 
dehumanizing world situations and those who resist b) 
publicly despairing or rebelling: 

One need only look at the dehumanizing structure 

of the totalitarian systems in one half of the world, 
and the dehumanizing consequences of technical 
mass civilization in tin' other half. In addition, the 
conflict between them max lead to the annihilation 
of humanity. The impact of this predicament 
produces, on the one hand, adaptation to the 
necessities of present-day living and indifference to 
the question of the meaning of human existent < . 
and on the other, anxiety, despair and revolt 
against this predicament. I he first group resigns 
itself to becoming things amongst things, giving up 


its individual self. The second group tries des- 
parately to resist this danger. 47 

Part of the resistance of the second, engaged group, to 
Tillich and to Selz, was to regain the image of man as a 
powerful symbol of protest. Tillich continued: "They 
fight desparately over the image of man, and by 
producing shock and fascination in the observer, they 
communicate their own concern for threatened and 
struggling humanity." 48 Tillich 's rhetoric, similar to that 
of many Christian existentialists, had a romantic ring, 
with its gloomy prediction that ultimately the problem 
rested on the demonic and irrational forces within each 
of us: 

There are demonic forces in every man which try to 
take possession of him, and the new image of man 
shows faces in which the state of being possessed is 
shockingly manifest. In others the fear of such 
possession or the anxiety at the thought of living is 
predominant, and again in others there are feelings 
of emptiness, meaninglessness and despair. But 
there are also courage, longing and hope, a 
reaching out into the unknown. 49 

To Selz, too, the original premise, that the Cold 
War — the economic and diplomatic struggles of the 
United States and the Soviet Union for world 
hegemony — had created the uneasiness and despair, 
seemed to get lost in his existentialist interpretation of 
the artists' intentions: 

Like Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Camus, these artists 
are aware of anguish and dread, of life in which 
man —precarious and vulnerable —confronts the 
precipice, is aware of dying as well as living. . . . 
Like the more abstract artists of the period, these 
imagists take the human situation, indeed the 
human predicament rather than formal structure, 
as their starting point. Existence rather than 
essence is of the greatest concern to them. 50 

Selz's show was controversial; the paintings were 
neither sensuously beautiful designs nor naturalism but 
aggressively ugly. Many artists and critics questioned 
the merit of the art, the validity of the premises, and the 
grouping of artists who seemed strikingly dissimilar. 
Manny Farber, writing in Art News, called it a "side 
show": "Included are some insectile women, a full 
female torso swinging on an iron spit, several Franken- 

stein figures and some terribly swollen heads, in all of 
which the outstanding feature is a notably rough skin 
texture suggesting leprosy in late stages." 51 Fairfield 
Porter declared in The Nation that "the common 
superficial look of the exhibition is that it collects 
monsters of mutilation, death and decay. It is less an 
exhibition for people interested in painting and 
sculpture than an entertainment for moralists." 52 Porter 
questioned the motivation of the new-image-of-man 
artists and the violence of their imagery. He speculated 
that they were artists in crisis because they really 
wanted to be needed as moralists in a secular society 
which rejected moralists. To Porter, however, it was not 
the business of artists to supply such a lack; referring to 
Tillich 's condemnation of the disengaged painter, Porter 
concluded: "The fate to become a thing may not be so 
terrible as the pressure to become a seer." 53 

Underlying the critical response was the issue of 
whether painting and sculpture could or should deal 
with issues of human experience, either psychological 
or sociological. Modernist critics and writers declared 
that art forms must "not mean but be," and that the 
province of modernist painting was the flat surface of 
the canvas covered with forms and colors. Clement 
Greenberg, writing for The Nation in 1944, had 
postulated: "Let painting confine itself to the disposi- 
tion pure and simple of color and line, and not intrigue 
us by associations with things we can experience more 
authentically elsewhere." 54 The moralist, humanist 
tradition, however, from John Ruskin to the present, 
has argued that the purpose of art was the communica- 
tion of ideas, with color and line merely the means to 
express that end. Writing in Encounter in 1963, 
Kenneth Clark reviewed the art currents of the time: 

We now believe [art] should aim at producing a 
kind of exalted happiness: this really means that 
art becomes an end in itself. Now it is an incon- 
trovertible fact of history that the greatest art has 
always been about something, a means of com- 
municating some truth which is assumed to be 
more important than the art itself. The truths 
which art has been able to communicate have been 
of a kind which could not have been put in any 
other way. They have been ultimate truths, stated 

To communicate ideas about man's condition and 
fate in ways which could not be conveyed by other art 
forms was indeed the goal of the new-image-of-man 

Painting, 1^41 -/y#o 1 ^1 

painters, as it had been the goal of many Abstract 
Expressionists in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Leon 
Golub could have been speaking for many of the late, 
1950s figurative painters when he recalled that at the 
time he was "trying to explore a vulnerable psychic 
situation which has some relationship to social or 
political situations."™ In other words, to Golub, per- 
sonal despair had a basis in the material world. 

However, without our knowledge of history and of 
the artists' own verbal explanations, most paintings of 
the new-image-of-man sensibility do not compel us 
today to make those connections to the social or 
political world. Indeed, in their attempt to make 
universal statements, the artists avoided those concrete 
and topical references which would locate their art in 
history. By the late 1950s specifically Christian images, 
such as those of Blume or Evergood, or genre-like 
scenes, such as Koerner's Vanity Fair (PI. 17), were 
rejected. (Recall that Stephen Greene used Christian 
references because he wanted to be easily under- 
stood.) 57 Instead, we were presented with symbols and 
situations so obscure and ambiguous as to be ineffective 
as a form of communication. Indeed, too often they 
seemed to reach a point of morbid sentimentality — 
emotion in excess of facts, hysteria for its own sake. As 
such, the works appealed to that university educated, 
middle-class audience who had read Jean-Paul Sartre's 
No Exit (1944), David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd 
(1953), and Colin Wilson's The Outsider (1956). To 
many in this audience, personal guilt and alienation had 
become a badge of culture. The humanism of the 
new-image-of-man painters was not only pessimistic, 
but anti-democratic as well, for they made no attempt 
to reach out to "the people" or to depict the daily 
concerns of the working classes. Common Man and 
Existential Man inhabited two different worlds. 58 

Whether we today respond positively or negatively 
to these late 1950s and early 1960s figurative paintings, 
museums across the country acquired and exhibited 
them. The Whitney Museum's collection, in paintings 
by artists as diverse as Hyman Bloom, Umberto 
Romano, Hiram Williams, Robert Beauchamp, James 
Strombotne, James Kearns, Morris Broderson, James 
McGarrell, Robert Barnes, Jules Kirschenbaum, Keith 
Finch, Sidney Goodman, and Gregory Gillespie, con- 
tains a strong representation of the new-image-of-man 

James Kearns's Cat's Cradle of 1959 (Fig. 126) 
characterizes some of the stylistic qualities of the 
new-image-of-man painting with its awkward 

Fig. 126. James Kearns. Cat's Cradle, /</>•;■ Oil on composi- 
tion board, 60 x 48 inches. Neysa McMein Purchase Award, 

foreshortening, grayed colors, tentative but scrubbed 
brushwork, and obsessive details. Kearns's life seemed 
appropriately and romantically on the existential pre- 
cipice, for after graduation from the Art Institute of 
Chicago, he worked for nine years as an explosives 
operator at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey. 

Kearns's painting, like other new-image-of-man 
paintings, was involved with emotion — but the cause 
and effects of the emotion were ambiguous. Was it 
psychological, philosophical, or sociological? In these 
paintings the action, if there is any, is ambiguous, the 
forms are unclear, and the spatial illusionism is vague. 
Colors are drained except for accent, such as an eerie 
yellow, a dull red or green, and the paint is often 
dragged across an acned surface. 

The anxiety we experience confronting the can- 
vases of Kearns, Broderson, McGarrell, Goodman, and 
Gillespie is less a response to the subject than the tension 
we feel in trying to read clarity into ambiguity, to find 
rational order where things have fallen apart, to hope 
for wholeness where only fragments remain. I ike the 

Fig. 127. Robert Broderson. Memory of Childhood, 1961. 
Oil on canvas, 6 $ V2 x ^jVi inches. Gift under the Ford 
Foundation Purchase Program, 62.2. 

theater of the absurd, these anti-sensuous and ugly 
paintings ask disturbing questions to which the answers 
can only be inexact and subjective: What is the meaning 
of the reclining figure in Broderson 's painting Memory 
of Childhood of 1961 (Fig. 127)? Is the creature walking 
on him a hyena, a devourer of human carrion? What 
sinister actions are about to take place in the haunted, 
shaded arbor of James McGarrell's Service of 1962 
(Fig. 128)? What is the nature of the carnage in Sidney 
Goodman's The Walk of 1963-64 (Fig. 129)? Are the 
women, one naked and one robed, in Gregory Gilles- 
pie's Two Women of 1965 (Fig. 130), prostitutes cor- 
nered in hermetic rooms from which there is no escape? 

Even Joseph Hirsch, whose work was Social 
Realist in the late 1930s and 1940s, moved close to the 
content of the new-image-of-man painting, if not the 
style and technique, with his Ulterior with Figures of 
1962 (Fig. 131). John Canaday, art critic for the New 
York Times, saw Hirsch's work as an important 
metaphor when it was exhibited in New York at the 
Forum Gallery: 

Mr. Hirsch's Interior with Figures . . . is as techni- 
cally brilliant a painting as is on exhibition in New 
York at this moment. More important, it is a 

Fig. 128. James McGarrell. Service, 1962. Oil on canvas, 
75 x 68 inches. Sumner Foundation Purchase Award, 62.52. 

Fig. 129. Sidney Goodman. The Walk, 1963-64. Oil on 
canvas, 83 V2 x 65 V4 inches. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Abraham 
Melamed, j8.8o. 

Painting, 1^41 - 198 1 j ^ 

Fig. 1^0. Gregory Gillespie. Two Women, 1965. Oil, synthet- 
ic polymer, tempera, and collage on wood, 14 x 11 inches. 
Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art, 

sinister fantasy expressed in a </<■< eptwely realistii 
voi abulary. The organization men bisei ted and 
immobilized at their desks, dominated by a gigan- 
tic face hardly visible in the background, seem 
captured within j new circle of hell invented f 01 a 
brand of sinner we have invented in our ceutw 

Because Hirsch painted within the tradition of 
realism — without the hrushwork of the Abstract I \- 
pressionists or the distracting compulsiveness of some 
of the new-image-of-man painters — his subject is 
perhaps more easily understood by a general audience 
as a comment on the climate of "the organization man, - ' 
about which William H. Whytc had written in [956. 

In general, the difference between the new-image- 
of-man painting and i<-;}os social commentary, which 
also protested against conditions, is that the 1930s 
paintings were pointed and specific; artists then recog- 
nized that "alienation" was not intrinsic but extrinsic, 
that "the human condition" was not just determined by 

Fig. i}i. Joseph Hirsch. Interior with Figures, 7962. Oil on 
canvas, 4^ x 72 inches. Gift of Rita and Daniel Iraad. Jr.. 6l. jy. 


universally shared psychological factors, but that social 
and economic forces largely determined those 
psychological forces. Job cutbacks created unemploy- 
ment, which in turn created poverty and individual 
anxiety and depression. But in the early 1960s, there 
seemed to be no specific villains; not American 
capitalism but original sin and man's hubris were 
blamed for his inability to find happiness; man's "innate 
selfishness" was blamed for his inability to share in, 
communal values. 

Protest and Violence in 
1960s Painting 

Before the decade of the 1960s had passed, the new- 
image-of-man sensibility was modified and changed as 
artists became more specific in their references to 
topical events. The Whitney Museum exhibition 
Human Concern/Personal Torment reflected a changed 
climate. Compared with Peter Selz's exhibition of the 
previous decade, Robert Dory's show was more eclectic 
and without the same existential intensity. The works 
were often boisterous and vulgar; they often had an 
earthy relevance quite different in spirit from those in 
Selz's show. 

What intervened in the ten-year period from 1959 
to 1969 were the international and domestic political 
events of the 1960s that acted upon the changing 
attitudes of artists. Early in the 1960s, the Cuban missile 
crisis, the belief that the big cities were all "ground 
zero" for atomic attack, and the campaign of Nelson 
Rockefeller, then Governor of New York, to build 
family bomb shelters (with debates as to whether or not 
one killed one's bomb-shelterless neighbor demanding 
refuge) — events such as these had an almost calculated 
effect of making the individual feel impotent or absurd. 
"Catch 22," coined from the title of Joseph Heller's 
196 1 war novel, meant that whatever the choices, one 
always lost. 

As the 1960s wore on, three assassinations — John 
F. Kennedy in November 1963, and Martin Luther 
King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy in the spring of 1968 — 
affected the consciousness of many artists and writers 
and drew them to a preoccupation with the theme of 
violent death. 60 Television coverage of the carnage in 
Southeast Asia provided daily reminders of violence, 
which some anthropologists and psychologists main- 
tained was ingrained in the American psyche or part of 

the "human condition" and inevitable. 61 Others insisted 
that violence was symptomatic of an unjust social 
structure and a means of social control. 

At the same time, the civil rights movement, the 
ghetto rebellions and later the antiwar movement led 
many to the conclusion that personal action (violent or 
non-violent) on behalf of collective goals could be 
effective in bringing about better political and social 
conditions. The economy was doing well and there was 
no reason, many argued, why poverty could not be 
eradicated. Consequently, many artists began to believe 
again, as Social Realists had in the 1930s, that art could 
be an instrument for social change. Many figurative 
artists became politically "radicalized," in the actual, 
etymological sense of the word, in that they looked to 
the social and political roots of "the human condition." 
As a result many artists attained a greater sophistication 
about the political aspects of art and the art world; 
many joined together in the late 1960s and early 1970s 
in such groups as Artists and Writers Protest Against the 
War in Vietnam, the Art Workers' Coalition, the Black 
Emergency Cultural Coalition, Women Artists in Revo- 
lution, and the New Art Association. 62 

Some younger artists used a range of figurative, 
expressive styles and included in their work specific and 
literal references to the Vietnam War, to U.S. militarism, 
to repression of the student movement, to racism, to the 
ghetto rebellions, and to the inadequate health and 
dehumanizing welfare systems, among them Benny 
Andrews, Bernard Aptekar, Rudolf Baranik, Dana C. 
Chandler, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Duane Hanson, Edward 
Kienholz, Faith Ringgold, Peter Saul, Nancy Spero, and 
May Stevens. The feminists of the group were also 
aware of the status and roles of women in contempo- 
rary society and made references to sexism as well. 63 

Included in the Whitney Museum's Human 
Concern/Personal Torment exhibition, Peter Saul's 
Saigon (PI. 22) is an exuberant and absurdist comment 
on the Vietnam War. Violence is the content; its cause is 
not vague and ambiguous (as was the theme of violence 
in much of the new-image-of-man painting) but 
specific. Lettering at the left spells out the message 
"White Boys Torturing and Raping the People of 
Saigon" and on the right, "High Class Version." In the 
center in vivid day-glow colors is the "Innocent Virgin," 
surrounded by "Her Mother," "Her Sister," and "Her 
Brother," all simultaneously violated by the outsized 
phalluses of coke-swilling GI's. Fat, cartoon musical 
quarter-notes punctuate the space. Meant to be disgust- 
ingly violent, the painting succeeds in reminding us that 

Fig. 132. Romare Bearden. Eastern Barn, 1968. Collage of 
glue, lacquer, oil, and paper on composition board, S5 V2 X 44 
inches. Purchase, f>y./4. 

wars corrupt the pawns used to wage them. 

During the 1960s the (largely white) art world 
became aware of the great numbers of black artists 
working in America. Romare Bearden 's life is an 
example of an odyssey by a black artist drawn to formal 
concerns as well as to humanist content. He studied at 
the Art Students League with George Grosz, was 
associated with members of the Harlem Artists Guild 
and a neighbor of Jacob Lawrence and poet Claude 
McKay. A soldier during World War II, in the early 
1950s Bearden lived in Paris, where his art turned 
toward abstraction. However, he returned to figure 
painting in his collages of the mid-1960s. His pasted 
papers — photographs and magazine illustrations of 
faces, dolls, and masks — took as their subject the lives 
and rituals of black people in America, such as his 
Eastern Barn of 1968 (Fig. 132). Bearden was naturally 
aware of the new-image-of-man painting, but required 
his own modification of the genre: "I work out of a 
response and need to redefine the image of man in terms 
of the Negro experience I know best." 6 ' 1 John A. 
Williams in his introduction to a monograph on 
Bearden noted that black consciousness needs to be 
experienced by all Americans, if not in reality, then in 
art: "If the collective human experience of the people of 
this nation is to be truthfully described, it can no longer 

Fig. 133. Charles White. Wanted Poster Number Four, (969. 
Oil on board, 24 x 24 inches. Gift of The Harnent ( 'orpora- 
tion (and purchase), 70.41. 

be drawn as a totally white experience. It was never a 
completely white nation; it will never be a completely 
white nation." 65 

Rendering that black experience was debated 
among black artists such as Charles Alston, Norman 
Lewis, Romare Bearden, and others in the mid-1960s. 
When they met, in such groups as "Spiral," there was no 
unified consensus as to whether aesthetics and pictorial 
problems or politics and social statements should be the 
primary concern of black artists. Alston wondered 
whether most art expressed by black artists "might not 
be only reflections of a dominant culture and not truly 
indigenous." 66 While such debates were going on, two 
paintings by black artists entered the Whitney Mu- 
seum's collection which were based on and reflective of 
the experience of blacks in America. Charles White's 
Wanted Poster Number Four of 1969 (Fig. 133) resulted 
from studies drawn from Civil War "wanted" posters of 
runaway slaves which included the name of the slaves as 
well as the reward sum. One might recall the targets of 
Jasper Johns, except that whereas Johns's works are 
oracular and mysterious, White's painting is unam- 
biguous. To figurative artists such as White, from the 
awareness of specific oppression we can become aware 
of other oppressions today. In general, however. White's 
works project more positive images of black people, of 
which he has said: 

My work strives to take shape around images and 
ideas that are centered within the vortex of the life 
experience of a Negro. I look to the life of my 
people as the fountainhead of challenging themes 

i 3 6 

Fig. 134. Malcolm Bailey. Untitled, 1969. Synthetic polymer on composition board, 
48 x jz inches. Larry Aldrich Foundation Fund, 69.JJ. 

and monumental concepts. I strive to create an 
image that all mankind can personally relate to 
and see his dreams and ideals mirrored with hope 
and dignity. 67 

Malcolm Bailey's Untitled of 1969 (Fig. 134) is 
based on diagrams of the holds of slave ships, which 
were originally published in the late 1780s by the 
Committee for Affecting the Abolition of the Slave 
Trade, an English group. 68 Bailey used white on a blue 
ground, the color of blueprints, to recapture the spirit of 
the calculated engineering used to oppress black 
peoples. Concerned with interpretation rather than 
realism, Bailey coolly presents the facts — the schematic 
hold, the cotton plant, and a detail of the hold. Human 
degradation in the form of slavery was based on an 
economic system founded on cotton. To Bailey, 
naturalism or realism was incapable of making that 
point as strongly and as unambiguously as the historic 
diagram. He was clear about his intentions: 

/ feel that too many black artists believe that by 
depicting an African design motif or painting an 
enraged black man with a raised clenched fist they 
are really saying something. It is a much more 
dynamic experience to see a live black cat raising 
his fist than it is to see a painting of one. Therefore, 
an artists job should be more than one of just 
mirroring life; he must instead interpret life in a 
very subjective abstract way. 69 

Writers such as Larry Neal held out for revolution- 
ary images "that go beyond the reflection of oppression 
and its preceding conditions." 70 In other words, if the 
humanism of black artists had a drawback to Neal and 
others, it was a too ready acceptance of the status quo. 
Nevertheless, the works which entered museums in the 
1960s, done by socially conscious black artists, tended 
to be images of oppression rather than images of 
militant rebellion. 

New York Pop Art 

During the 1960s and 1970s, not all the responses of 
artists were expressions either of existential anguish or 
of civil rights awareness. Indeed, the majority of artists 
were neither philosophical nor political. They re- 
sponded on a visceral level to the social and commercial 
activities which hustled around them, or they ignored 
them altogether. The figurative paintings done by these 
artists were often either satiric, straight, or decorative. 
The language of the humanists, with phrases such as 
"the dignity of man" or "human values," seemed to 
have little relevance for them. 

New York artists Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, 
and Tom Wesselmann poked fun at white, middle-class 
mass culture with a deadpan irony by investigating and 
spoofing the media which transmit that mass culture — 
comic books, mass magazines, and calendar art. In the 
process, stereotypes became reality, cliches became 
standingly unique and banality became chic. 

In retrospect Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschen- 
berg can be seen as transitional artists linking the New 
York School of the 1950s to the new movement which 
became known in the early 1960s as Pop Art. Johns 
drew from the ambiguity of de Kooning to make iconic 
images of flags, numbers, and targets — forms which 
are themselves flat, but also exist as signs; Rauschen- 
berg emphasized process and gestural painterliness in 

Fig. 1 jj. Andy Warhol. Before and After, ',, 1962. Synthetic 
polymer on canvas, -4 x wo inches. Gift of Charles Simon 
(and purchase), 71.226. 

Fig. 136. Richard Lindner. Ice, 2966. Oil on canvas, 70 x 60 
inches. Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Museum of 
American Art, (17.17. 

his play of juxtaposed images drawn from the refuse 
heap of tired, popular images. Johns's concerns were 
often epistemological — he dealt with how we come to 
know the world which acculturates us — whereas 
Rauschenberg was immediate and sociological, with 
references to the Southeast Asian wars, art museum 
culture, street life, and to the myriad topical matters 
transmitted through newspapers, magazines, and tele- 

Andy Warhol, arriving in New York in 1949, spent 
over ten years as a commercial artist, illustrating 
magazines, designing shoes for I. Miller, and dressing 
windows for Bonwit Teller. Becoming serious as a 
painter in the early 1960s, he looked at the instruments 
of mass consumerism — supermarket displays and 
magazine advertisements — for his artistic sources. His 
Before and After, 3 of 1 962 (Fig. 1 3 5), based on 
advertisements for nose plastic surgery, comments on 
the American preoccupation with conventional pretti- 
ness. 71 Tom Wesselmann's Great American Nude, 
Number 57 of 1964 (PI. 23) depicts a flattened close-up 
image of a pinup object, details eliminated except for the 
erogenous components — puckered lips, full breasts, 
and taut, rubber-like nipples. There .ire no pretensions 
about the humanity of the pinup; she is pure object, like 
the silicone-injected breasts that shimmied through the 
sixties in the "topless" bars from San Francisco to 
Forty-second Street. 

i 3 8 

Richard Lindner's art superficially resembles Pop 
Art in its repeated allusions to the iconography of 
American popular culture — ice cream cones, stars, 
Indian heads — but the basis of his style lies in the 
German tradition. 72 The superimposition of lettering 
and images, the bilaterally symmetrical iconic designs, 
the mechanistic figures, the flattened space all refer back 
to the cubist-constructivist styles of Bauhaus Germany, 
whereas the erotically charged elements combining 
beauty and vulgarity, voluptuous aggressiveness and 
repressed confinement, recall the tradition of German 
Expressionism. In the painting Ice of 1966 (Fig. 136) 
the title refers to the cone the female is licking and to the 
letters which we see behind her form. But we also read 
the word "ice" as "love" by association of her lustful 
licking of the very phallic cone, and the tricks our mind 
plays if it fills in the circle for the "c" and reads the star 
behind the Indian profile as a "v." In Lindner's cool 
world of ironic joylessness, the significations of "ice" 
and "love" are interchangeable. 

Chicago Imagism 

Expressionism — the conscious expression of the artist's 
feelings in his/her art through distortion and 
exaggeration — forms the background of a younger 
generation of Chicago artists who combined an ironic 
attitude with fantastic, grotesque, and hilariously ugly 
forms. Called the "Chicago Imagists" or "Chicago 
Funk," almost all had studied at the school of the Art 
Institute of Chicago and all had been influenced by the 
Chicago metaphysical artists of the previous decade 
such as Leon Golub, George Cohen, and others. The 
difference between the Chicago Imagists and the New 
York Pop artists has been characterized by critic Joanna 
Frueh: "Pop depicts a cultural acceptance of commer- 
cialism, whereas Chicago's Funk imagism rebels against 
it. Both arts exaggerate, but Pop aggrandizes the 
gluttony of advertising, and imagism coarsens it." 73 
Not only did the Chicago painters rebel against 
commercialism, but they also rebelled against New 
York modernism, which New York Pop artists never 
did. Jim Nutt, along with Art Green, James Falconer, 
Gladys Nilsson, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum 
exhibited together as the "Harry Who," beginning in 
1966. Ed Pascheke exhibited with the "Non-Plussed 
Some" and Philip Hanson, Roger Brown, and Christina 
Ramberg with the "False Image" group. Pop artists 

Fig. 137. Jim Nutt. She's Hit, 1967. Synthetic polymer on 
plexiglas and enamel on wood, 3 6 V2 x 24 V2 inches. Larry 
Aldrich Foundation Fund, 69.101. 

used the figure in only some of their paintings, but the 
Chicago Imagists used the figure or a humanoid 
equivalent in almost all of their works. 

The verbal and visual puns of pornographic com- 
ics as well as the Surrealist forms of Miro and Matta are 
the art-historical sources for the battered and bound, 
bounding and boisterous figures of Jim Nutt. The title 
of Nutt's She's Hit of 1967 (Fig. 137) becomes a 
scatological phrase if the letter division is shifted. The 
title may then define the next phase of the story of Miss 
Cast, whose mutiliated, torn, stapled, and Band-Aided 
body stands before a wall, against which are thrown 
daggers by an unknown hand. Obsessive infantile 
doodles — on the level of a clever and "dirty" minded 
seven-year-old child — animate the surface. The bland, 
plastic colors — pastel lavender, lime, peach, and 
gold — and the inclusion of Phillips screws on the 
plexiglas surface reinforce the repulsive anti- 
sensuousness of the total image. 

Christina Ramberg's Istrian River Lady of 1974 
(Fig. 138), by comparison, is more subdued but no less 

Painting, 1^41 -njHo 1 (9 

Fig. /$#. Christina Romberg. Istrian River Lady, 7974. 
Synthetic polymer on composition board, 54V2 x 30 inches. 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Fredric M. Roberts in memory <>/ then- 
son, James Reed Roberts, 74.11. 

bizarre m its imagery. More recent work by ( Iik.i^o 
artists Roger Brown and Nicholas Africano have lost 
the sexual exuberance but none of the obsessiveness ol 
the Chicago school. The trivialization of spiritual values 
in our society is brilliantly parodied in brown's I he 
Entry of ( hrist into ( hicago in 1976 (Fig. 139), a 
modern Palm Sunday scene with a plaster doll [esus 
blessing the scattered crowd of cardboard cutouts from 
a toy flatbed truck. About 370 of these cardboard 
figures can be counted, including the shadowed 
silhouettes in the windows. Where Brown's work ma) 
be a history painting (to a culture that believes even less 
in history than it does in religion), Africaners An 
Argument of 1977 (Fig. 140) is a genre painting in 
which doll-like people in an empty, neutrally colored 
space without environmental references argue without 
mutually confronting each other. Painting now with 
whimsey, now with locker room humor, which may 
have been the only way to counter New York 

Fig. / 39. Roger Brown. The Entry of Christ into ( flicago in 
1976, J976. Oil on canvas, jz x 110 inches. Gift of Mr. and 
Mrs. Joel S. Ehrenkranz (by exchange), Mr. and Mrs. Edwin 
A. Bergman, and the National Endowment for the Arts, 77.56- 



Fig. 140. Nicholas Africano. An Argument, 1977. Oil, 
acrylic, and wax on canvas, 69 X 8j V2 inches. Gift of Mr. 
and Mrs. William A. Marsteller, 77.68. 

Fig. 141. Robert Gordy. Boxville Tangle, Number 1,1968. 
Synthetic polymer on canvas, 90 x 60 inches. Larry Aldrich 
Foundation Fund, 68.49. 

modernism, the Chicago school has maintained a 
moralist attitude towards the figure from the 1950s up 
to the present day. 

Discounting the subject, if possible, we can delight 
in Brown's painting for its pattern as well as its naive 
quality. In the last twenty years painters have used the 

Fig. 142. Bob Thompson. An Allegory, 1964. Oil on canvas, 
48 x 48 inches. Gift of Thomas Bellinger, 72.1)7. 

Fig. 14}. Roy De Forest. Wise Horse's Dream, 1972. Syn- 
thetic polymer on canvas, 60 x 66 Va inches. Purchased with 
the aid of funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, 

figure as part of a decorative pattern of color, which 
ranges from the sophisticated neo-Art Deco designs of 
Robert Gordy, such as his Boxville Tangle, Number 1 of 
1968 (Fig. 141), to the Fauve-like fantasy landscapes of 
Bob Thompson, such as his An Allegory of 1964 
(Fig. 142). Like Jan Miiller, whom he admired, 
Thompson in his decorative scenes sought to express a 
private vision of search and salvation. 74 A consciously 
childlike and colorful style is also used by Roy De Forest 
in his Wise Horse's Dream of 1972 (Fig. 143). 

Painting, 194 1 198 141 

Studio Pictures of the 
1960s and 1970s 

During the 1940s and the 1950s the portrait and the 
studio nude — rendered either naturalistically or ac- 
cording to canons of ideal form — all hut disappeared 
from the art world. The reemergence of these two 
forms — the portrait and the nude — without Pop over- 
tones or sardonic manipulations characterizes one of 
the strong trends in the 1960s and 1970s. These two 
forms were central to the "new realism," exhihited in 
the Whitney Museum's 1970 11 Realists, a show which 
examined both realism and Photo-Realism of the late 
1960s. James Monte, in his foreword to the catalogue, 
defined "realism" in simple terms, as a painting method 
"which employs a full pictorial illusionism to embod) 
the artist's feelings." 75 

The figurative "new realists" look at the world of 
real people and specific situations. They differ from the 
new-image-of-man painters in that they are not con- 
cerned with visualizing in paint "the human condition" 
as a universal; their "feelings" generally mean their 
aesthetic convictions rather than their emotional or 
ethical feelings. Similar to studio painters of the 1920s 
and 1930s, they concern themselves with the same 
range of pictorial problems: light, color harmonies, and 
spatial definition, or topographical exactitude. Charac- 
ter delineation as revealed through the face and body is 
less a characteristic of the "new realists" than of the 
more traditional realists. 

In discussing these examples of recent figure paint- 
ing, we may find it useful to revive one of the traditional 
distinctions between realism and naturalism. Although 
the words have been used interchangeably, realism has 
gained acceptance as the term to categorize any art 
representing or imitating forms that exist or could exist 
in the world outside the artist's consciousness. 78 The 
distinction between realism and naturalism has been 
blurred, perhaps because the question of the artist's 
intentions — his or her personal stance — has been 
dismissed as irrelevant. But when historians and critics 
considered the differences (usually in connection with 
nineteenth-century French painting), the accepted 
definition went somewhat as follows: If the artist 
self-consciously proclaimed a political point of view, a 
social message, a concern with ethics or ideology, then 
the work was considered "realist." If, on the other 
hand, the artist eschewed moral and political commit- 
ment and claimed slice-of-life objectivity as the only 
validly modern response (to a life which we could 

hardly pretend to know, much less reform , then that art 
was called "naturalist." In terms <>t histors, the realists 
such as Courbet — with their concerns tor content — 
became part of the current of humanist art; whereas the 
naturalists, such as Monet — with then preoccupation 
with form and pattern neutrally viewed but almost 
always designed — have become part of the history ot 
modernism. 77 

Since advocates of formalist art and criticism 
consider ethical or political intentions irrelevant to the 
aesthetic enterprise, when they do turn their attention 
to recent representational art, their bias operates to 
select those painters veering toward naturalism who, 
after all, seem primarily concerned with the deployment 
of forms, colors, and shapes across the canvas. The 
choice of subject, they can then argue, is adjusted to 
prior compositional necessities. 

Many of the new realists and almost all of the 
Photo-Realists are naturalists in this precise sense. To 
call them naturalists might clear up some problems 
which Barn' Schwartz had in his investigation of "new 
humanist" art: 

Though the realists would like to he known, in 
Jack Beal's words, as "struggling Humanists," 
they, in fact, are generally cautious painters. They 
exist between two worlds —between loyalty to 
conventional notions of form, and a full-blown 
investigation of content. The new figurative art 
makes no value judgments. It claims to bean art of 
perception. But to perceive the human figure and 
to make no judgments about it, in the face of 
contemporary experience, is to make a significant 
judgment about it. 7s 

Schwartz has proposed a distinction which, in spite of 
its logic, confuses the issue. That is, if humanism in an 
means the investigation of content, and all figurative an 
has content (whether consciously intended or not by the 
artist), then it follows logically that all figurative .\n is 
humanist. This is to blur distinctions ot intentions that 
main artists and critics would want to maintain. 
Indeed, Schwartz himself wants to reserve the term 
"new humanism" for "a form of empathetic figuration 
which requires the figure but never solely as form." '' 
However, many figurative artists do not want to give up 
what they have learned from modernism; the) <.\o not 
want to sacrifice the sensuousness ot form tor message. 
Returning to our distinction between realism and 
naturalism: the artists who claim to make no value 


Fig. 144. Philip Pearlstein. Female Model on Oriental Rug 
with Mirror, 1968. Oil on canvas, 60 x 72 inches. Promised 
50th Anniversary Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard A. Lauder, 

judgments might be called naturalists (even granted that 
such valueless decisions are impossible). Their 
naturalism can take the form of a sharply focused 
rendering of details and illusionistic modeling of forms, 
such as the works of Pearlstein, Chuck Close, and most 
of the Photo-Realists, or a painterly style which reduces 
details and focuses on light and composition, such as 
the works of Fairfield Porter and Alex Katz. 

Philip Pearlstein is now a sharp focus naturalist. 
Once involved with the ethos and aesthetics of the New 
York School, he held his first show of figurative brush 
drawings in 1962, and by 196} he had exhibited figure 
paintings. Also in 1962 he wrote "Figure Painters Today 
Are Not Made in Heaven," 80 his manifesto for a new 
figurative realism. Pearlstein rejected what he thinks of 
as the pretentious intellectualism of the new-image- 
of-man painting and has traded the gestural messiness 
of Abstract Expressionism for a coolly objective render- 
ing of exactly what he sees before his eyes: one or two 
nudes, seated or standing, with flesh shining from the 
three spotlights hanging from his studio ceiling. In his 
Seated Nude on Green Drape of 1969 (Fig. 96), 
Pearlstein has arranged the limbs of the model, the 
furniture and drapery to strengthen the two- 
dimensional design which counterbalances the 
diagonal thrust into space that comes from his point of 
view of looking down on the model. Pearlstein's nudes 
have been called ugly and ungainly with swollen feet, 

Fig. 745-. Sidney Goodman. Room 318,1971-72. Oil on 
canvas, 75 x <)■/ inches. Purchased with the aid of funds from 
the National Endowment for the Arts (and exchange), 7}.8. 

prominently veined hands and furrowed flesh. Often 
their faces are averted or cut off by the canvas edge. 
They are neither erotically sensuous nor is there 
narrative content. Although they are specific, real 
people, whom Pearlstein admires because they are 
professional models who work for a living, 81 they are 
treated as studio objects. If one defines modernism as a 
concern for the new and experimental, as assumed by 
art historian H. H. Arnason, 82 Pearlstein's works would 
not qualify. If, on the other hand, modernism is defined 
as a concern with form, then they do. However, 
although Pearlstein claims that his figures are mere 
arrangements and that his intention is only to make 
arrangements, the viewer need not be intimidated from 
making an interpretation, if he or she is trying to probe 
the content of American painting in the 1960s and 
1970s. 83 

Jack Beal's work, which makes allusions to art- 
historical tradition, seems to hover between naturalism 
and realism. The title of Beal's Danae II of 1972 (PI. 24) 
draws its literary source from the classical myth of 
Zeus, who disguised as a shower of gold came to seduce 
Danae. However, the manipulations of light and space 
seem to be the real subject. The bright sunlight stream- 
ing in from the window at the top right bathes the 
reclining nude attended by her female friend. The 
secondary hues of orange, green and purple harmonize 
the foreground objects. However Beal, in his work of 
the mid-1970s, and Alfred Leslie, in his more recent 
work, have attempted to combine an ambitious narra- 

Fig. 146. Neil Welliver. Girl with Striped Washcloth, 1971. 
Oil on canvas, ho x 60 inches. Gift of Charles Simon, 71.17. 

tion with almost mannerist effects of light and space 
which go beyond naturalism. 84 

Sidney Goodman's Room 318 of 1971 - 72 
(Fig. 145) is far removed in mood from the overt exis- 
tential sensibility of his painting The Walk of 1963 - 64 
(Fig. 129). Nonetheless, the image teases the viewer 
because of its ambiguity. The artist and the spectator are 
placed at a distance from the nude figure sitting on a 
cloth covered cabinet (examining table?) who stares 
inscrutably at us. Aware of being a model in that studio 
space, she confronts us with that fact. The dark 
foreground is articulated by spots of sunlight on the 
floor and a large black cat. Space and light compete 
with the nude for our attention, yet she has a presence 
which controls and gives tension to the tableau. The 
harshness of the light and the starkness of the forms 
maintain the painting as a forthright, unromantic 

Fairfield Porter represents the painterly current of 
figurative naturalism in his paintings which also follow 
the tradition of the studio picture. Porter's The Screen 
Porch of 1964 (Pi. 25) represents the slow pace of a 
summertime scene of his children and a friend on a 
screened-in porch. Porter's painterly, dry brush flattens 
and simplifies detail to a surface of pastel tones offset by 
darker greens. Like Pearlstein and like Hopper earlier. 
Porter does not probe the character of the figures or 

Fig. 147. Paul Georges. The Studio, 1965. Oil on canvas, 
120V2 x 79V2 inches. Neysa McMein Purchase Award, <>6.n. 

their social relationships. On the other hand, the nude 
in Paul Georges's The Studio of 1965 (Fig. 14- is 
shown engaged in a relationship with the artist as she 
concentrates on the artist's hand signal gesturing her 
instructions. The studio picture in the 1960s and 1970s 
shows a slice of life of the artist's world — his craft, his 
friends, family, and models — undisturbed b) urban 
distractions and international events. In fact with main 
painters, studio pictures merge with portraiture, but 
there is a cautious neutrality to them. 

By the late 1960s many painters of the nude figure 
had developed an imagery which was frankly romantic 
in its appeal. These artists, then, did have intentions, but 
those intentions related to the creation of sensuous ^\K\ 
even erotic forms. 85 Elusive in meaning and in mood is 
Paul Wiesenfeld's Secrets II oi [968—69 (Fig. [49 . 
which was exhibited in the Whitney Museum's 22 
Realists show. Wiesenfeld has painted a neat ,mc\ 
orderly room containing a nude young woman 1\ ingon 
a Victorian sofa. A rosy glow suffuses the interior in 
which each object has its ou n discrete place m the 

i 4 4 

Fig. 148. Ben Kamihira. The Couch, i960. Oil on canvas, 

63 x 79 V4 inches. Sumner Foundation Purchase Award, 60.49. 

composition. The mystery suggested by the title be- 
comes less important than the medley of patterns, 
including the striped upholstery of the Victorian sofa, 

Fig. 150. William Bailey. "N" (Female Nude), c. 1965. Oil on 
canvas, 48 x 72 inches. Gift of Mrs. Louis Sosland, 76.39. 

Fig. 149. Paul Wiesenfeld. Secrets II, 1968-69. Oil on canvas, 
6} x 66 V2 inches. Richard and Dorothy Rodgers Fund, 70.15. 

an eighteenth-century tapestry of cupids, Oriental rugs, 
and the nude herself. William Bailey's nude in his "N" 
(Female Nude) of about 1965 (Fig. 150) is by contrast 
sparse — a gentle still life of cream white against the 
brown and tan tones which support her. The repetition 
of forms — leg against leg, bent elbow against pillow, 
against pillow — gives us a clue to his primary concern 
for making an arrangement of harmonious and rhyth- 
mical forms silhouetted against a dark background. 

Painting, 1941—19 n s 


The Photo-Realists — realists who worked directly 
from a photographic image or a slide — also emerged in 
the early 1960s and a number were included in 11 
Realists. The Photo-Realists share with most other 
recent realists and naturalists a concern with the 
specific, ordinary, and familiar forms before them, 
rather than remembered or imagined forms. Some 
Photo-Realists are obsessed with detail; others simplify 
form the way bright sunlight eliminates detail in a 
snapshot. Although the painters not working from 
photographs disparage the efforts of those who do, the 
Photo- Realists do not have the limitation of the studio 
situation. Since Photo-Realist paintings are based on 
photographs, slides, and postcards, they can choose a 
broader range of subject matter including views of city 
sidewalks or vacation activities and sights. The photo- 
graphic visual aids function as the preliminary on-site 
sketches had for nineteenth-century painters. On the 
other hand, the visual aid (photograph, slide or 
postcard) by acting as an intermediary step, insulates 
the Photo-Realist from the reality of a situation 
(whether contrived or objective) which he or she may 
not have personally witnessed. Thus, Photo-Realists, in 
relying on preprocessed images, operate similarly to the 
New York Pop artists. 

The figure painters among the Photo-Realists hold 
a position analogous to traditional genre painters who 

did scenes of t\ pica) everyda) lite, u nli the difference 

thai to these realists specific people- .ue engaged m those 
typical pursuits. Howard Kanovitz in New \<>rkers I 
(Fig. 1 > 1 represents poets, artists, and other .in world 
personalities whom he has brought together tor their 
group portrait, with art-historical references all the w a\ 
back to I tans I lals. On the other hand, the group 
portraits ot Robert Bechtle and Richard Mel ean have 
the quality of informal snapshots. Robert Bechtle's '61 
Pontiac of [968—69 (Fig. 1 52) presents the artist and 
his famiK standing in the bright ( alifornia sunlight in 
front of their station wagon. In the tradition of 
eighteenth-century British equestrian portraiture, 
Richard McLean's Still Life with Black Jockey of 1969 
(Fig. 153) depicts a race-winning horse with a mounted 
jockey and the trainer holding the bridle. McLean based 
his paintings on black-and-white photographs and 
advertisements found in journals devoted to horse 
raising, such as The Thoroughbred of ( alifornia, The 
Quarter Horse Journal, and Appaloosa News. 86 

Whereas the works of Kanovitz, Bechtle, and 
McLean are subdued in the intensity of the colors, 
Audrey Flack used the Photo-Realist technique in Lady 
Madonna of 1972 (PI. 26) to achieve unexcelled bril- 
liance. Working from slides projected onto a white 
primed canvas, Flack used a brush for underpainting 
and then used an air brush to spray pure primary colors 
identical to the gels of the slide onto limited areas of the 
canvas separated by masking tape and butcher paper. 

Fig. rjr. Howard Kanovitz. 
New Yorkers 1, 1965. Synthetot 
polymei on canvas, 7 < 93 Vj inches. 
(.ift of the artist, 69.171. 

The patient build-up of red, blue, and yellow achieved a 
rainbow brilliance as the painting progressed. On a trip 
to Spain Flack saw and was moved by the emotional 
qualities of the painted sculptures done by the 
seventeenth-century sculptress Luisa Roldan, as well as 
other Baroque sculptures. Although Roldan did not 
create the subject of Lady Madonna, the crowned 
Virgin holding the Christ child in one hand and a 
scepter in another, the sculpture, to Flack, had the same 
emotional quality that Flack saw in Roldan's work. 
Most Photo-Realists approach their subjects coolly, but 
Flack, whose preferred genre is the studio still life, 
includes objects that project an intensely personal 
meaning. Particularly in her recent work, these objects 
appear as retrospective symbols or archetypes standing 
in isolation, not as things which function or have an 
effect on the events of the world. Lawrence Alloway has 
referred to Flack's recent work as combining the "genre 
of still life with the humanist tradition of art as the 
vehicle of ambitious meaning." 87 Indeed, as distinctions 
blur as to which of the new realists and Photo- Realists 
are "humanists," one might say that "ambitious mean- 
ing" has come to be the major criterion, although the 
"meaning" rarely goes beyond the studio situation. 

Fig. 152. Robert Bechtle. '61 Pontiac, 1968-69. Oil on 

canvas, 60 x 84 inches. Richard and Dorothy Rodgers Fund, 70.16. 

Fig. 153. Richard McLean. Still Life with Black Jockey, 1969. 
Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches. Purchase, 70.17. 

Painting, 1941—198 14^ 

Portraits of the 
Last Two Decades 

When realism and naturalism reappeared so did por- 
traits. Some of the recent portraits are based on 
photographs and slides while others are painted in the 
presence of the sitter. Some claim to be straight, 
"objective" renderings of the surface appearances of a 
face at a given moment, while others have expressive, 
emotional qualities suggesting the character of a person 
who has developed through time and place. Larry 
Rivers, who shifted in and out of gestural figure 
painting and Pop imagery during the 1950s, painted a 
number of poignant portraits of friends and relatives. 
His Double Portrait of Berdie of 1955 (Fig. 1 54) 
represents two poses of his mother-in-law, an aging 
woman whose indomitable spirit shines through the 
sagging flesh and venerable wrinkles of a human being 
who has lived and endured for many years. 

Qualities of human vulnerability and fragility and 
the human values of tenderness also haunt Moses 
Soyer's Julia Evergood of 1962 (Fig. 155) and Alice 

Neel's The Soyer Brothers of 19-^ (PI. 27). In both 
portraits the character of the sitters is revealed through 

expression, body pose, and positioning ot the hands. 
Neel's Andy Warhol of [970 1 Fig. [56) is a portrait of 
an art-world personality, hailed as the greatest im- 
pressario of our time, at a particularly vulnerable 
moment. Disrobed to reveal the scars inflicted on him in 
the summer of [968 by a former admirer, Warhol sits in 
beatific self-composure. Neel refers to herself as a 
modern Balzac and indeed her joh>i Perreault of 1972 
(Fig. 1 57) depicts a frankly sensuous but curiously 
passive nude whose genitalia relax in a bed of furry 
pubic hair. Neel's portrait satirizes the "openness" of 
the late 1960s when "humanistic psychology" em- 
phasized body awareness and the freely communicated 
expression of emotions. Indeed, in the early 1970s in 
many circles "humanism" had come to mean self- 
development and self-perfection. To Neel, realism 
meant representing her subjects not only as per- 
sonalities but as types who embody attitudes and styles 
very much of our time. 

This same directness — "letting it all hang out" — 

» f 


Fig. rj4. / any Ri: 
Double Portrait of Berdie, 
19 j j. (hi on canvas, 
82V1 inches. 
Anonymous gift, j6 


Fig. 155. Moses Soyer. Julia Evergood, 1962. Oil on canvas, 
36 x 30 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Percy Uris, 63.4. 

Fig. 156. Alice Neel. Andy Warhol, 1970. Oil on canvas, 
60 x 40 inches. Promised gift of Timothy Collins, i.yi. 

is the theme of Alfred Leslie's over life-size self-portrait, 
Alfred Leslie of 1966-67 (Fig. 158), done in black and 
white tones. Leslie, who before the mid-1960s was an 
Abstract Expressionist, depicts himself: the uncombed 
hair, the paint-splattered trousers with broken fly 
zipper, the flaccid belly present an image of the artist as 
neither an elegant professional nor a deeply brooding 
outsider. The artist is simply a person who has the talent 
to make a likeness and the candor not to idealize the 
portrait into a conventional image. 

Transmitting information rather than probing 
human psychology is the goal of Chuck Close in his Phil 
of 1969 (Fig. 159). In his portraits in the late 1960s and 
1970s Close used a camera to make photographs of his 
subjects. Close adjusted the focal plane of the lens to the 
plane of the subject's eyes; in the resulting photograph, 
that plane is scrupulously detailed while the tip of the 
nose and the hair blur out of focus. Squaring off the 
photograph, he transferred the image to an outsized 
canvas by copying each detail of hair follicle and skin 
wrinkle as well as the blurred areas. The image becomes 
a literal and optical "slice of life." Close's ambition is 

identical with his technique — to "use frontal formal 
poses that are lit to present the greatest information 
about that particular face in that particular situation," 
with the goal being "to see a familiar image in a new 
way." 88 Emphasizing seeing and perception rather than 
understanding and conception, Close's intensely 

Fig. 157. Alice Neel. John Perreault, 1972. Oil on canvas, 
38 x 63 V2 inches. Gift of anonymous donors, 76.26. 

Painting, 794/ - r$>Si 149 

Fig. 158. Alfred Leslie. Alfred Leslie, 1966-67. Oil on canvas, 
108 x jz inches. Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Museum 
of American Art, 67.50. 

naturalist portraits are processed into formalist images 
of overwhelming presence. 

In Alex Katz's portraits individual character is 
irrelevant. The three men and two women — Michael 
Brownstein, Gerrit Henry, Doug Ohlson, Paula Cooper, 
and Jennifer Bartlett — of almost hillboard proportions 
in Place of 1977 (PI. 28) smile down at the viewer with 
great self-assurance. They are idealized images of the 
types one meets on a sunny day in the gallery district 
south of Houston Street in New York City. They have 
none of the qualities of the smug but vulnerable petty 
bourgeois so mischievously and rawly satirized by Neel. 
They are artists, dealers, and writers — types who come 
and go, talking of art in S0H0. Katz, who was affected 
by the dynamic tenor of New York School painting and 
who still admires the "quick light" in Pollock's paint- 
ings, is himself attempting to restructure the elusive 
quality of light. 89 The results are subjects transformed 
into images of spontaneous freedom. Regarding the 
new trends in figurative art, Katz has recently said: "For 
me, figurative painting is a whole new ball game. 
Reality is a variable — what things appear to be is 

Fig. 759. Chuck Close. Phil, 1969. Synthetic polymer on 

canvas, 108 x 84 inches. Gift of Mrs. Robert M. Benjamin, 6<).ioi. 

something that changes every 20 years. The most 
interesting painters are the ones in contact with the 
world they're living in and they're making new pic- 
tures." 90 The world Katz chooses to live in and concern 
himself with is primarily circumscribed by the perim- 
eters of the chic art galleries and museums of New 
York. 91 Moreover, his naturalism harmonizes a concern 
for modernity with a preoccupation with the optical 
sensations that flatten and reduce form. As such he 
comes closest to the goals of the Impressionists working 
a hundred years ago who sought to synthesize the 
optical reality of appearances with the content of 
contemporaneity, of "being of one's time." 

Close and Katz chose the human face because it is 
the form perhaps most deeply established in our 
consciousness, but they are not interested in making 
statements about human values per se. It may be that to 
them humanism — the secular religion — has lost its 
edge, its relevance in a world in which information, 
chic, and optimistic cool have become the best defenses 
to withstand the cynicism and pessimism which con- 
tinually threaten artists. 


Other Figurative Options 

In the 1940s Philip Guston was a realist whose themes 
paralleled those of Siporin, Lasker, and Shahn. By the 
1950s he had become an Abstract Expressionist — a 
mode he pursued until the early 1970s when he abruptly 
returned to the figure. His figures, however, are neither 
naturalistic nor chicly stylized, but rather large, clumsy 
forms with hooded faces and feet which could have 
been drawn by the satirist R. Crumb. Guston's Cabal of 
1977 (Fig. 160) strikes an ominous note. The Random 
House Dictionary of the English Language (1966) 
defines the noun "cabal" as "1. a small group of secret 
plotters, as against a government or person in authority. 
2. the plots and schemes of such a group; intrigue. 3. a 
clique, as in the artistic, literary, or theatrical fields." In 
these post- Watergate years, the intriguer draws our 
contempt, although we may have a different attitude 
toward the artificers who plot against art-world au- 
thorities. However, these pathetic creatures of Guston, 
painted in cadmium reds, dirty pinks, and brown- 
black — all vulnerable eyes and ears — are lost souls 
who may just drown in their own passivity. 

The most recent figurative paintings in the Whit- 
ney Museum's collection range from the disarmingly 
simple and optimistic images of Katz to the complex 
and synecdochic, pessimistic creatures of Guston. In- 
verting conventional notions of the appropriate content 
to match style, the naturalistic images of Katz conjure 
up a carefree paradise whereas the abstracted images of 
Guston suggest a purgatory of lost souls, and the 
paintings of Roger Brown and Nicholas Africano fall 
somewhere in between. 92 

As of this writing, critics and artists speak of "post- 
modernism," applying the term not only to architecture 
but to painting and sculpture. 93 Critic Kim Levin, as 
recently as October 1979, has suggested that the 
distinguishing characteristic of the decade of the 1970s 
was that modernism "had gone out of style": 

The question of imitation, the gestural look of 
Abstract Expressionism, and all the words that 
had been hurled as insults for as long as we could 
remember — illusionistic, theatrical, decorative, 
literary — were resurrected, as art became once 
again ornamental or moral, grandiose or 
miniaturized, anthropological, archeological, 
ecological, autobiographical or fictional. It was 
defying all the proscriptions of modernist purity. 

The mainstream trickled on, minimalizing and 
conceptualizing itself into oblivion, but we were 
finally bored with all that arctic purity. 94 

Clement Greenberg, writing at about the same 
time, has defended modernism, not by reiterating the 
primacy of formal preoccupations, but by redefining it 
in terms of its contemporary mission. To Greenberg, 
there is a war waging: 

So I come at last to what I offer as an embracing 
and perdurable definition of Modernism: that it 
consists in the continuing endeavor to stem the 
decline of aesthetic standards threatened by the 
relative democratization of culture under indus- 
trialism; that the overriding and innermost logic of 
Modernism is to maintain the levels of the past in 
the face of an opposition that hadn't been present 
in the past. Thus the whole enterprise of 
Modernism, for all its outward aspects, can be seen 
as backward-looking. 95 

To Greenberg, the post-modernist trends spring from 
the "urge to relax" the aesthetic standards of the past. In 
his view the advocate critics of post-modernism "bring 
philistine taste up to date by disguising it as its opposite, 
wrapping it in high-flown art jargon. . . . Underneath it 
all lies the defective eye of the people concerned; their 
bad taste in visual art." 96 

This is not the occasion to raise the issue of whose 
aesthetic standards are the measure, or to remind us, as 
did Leo Steinberg almost thirty years ago, that the eye is 
a part of the mind. 97 Nor is this the place to predict what 
figurative paintings, if any, curators will select for their 
art museums for the future. 

It is appropriate, however, to acknowledge the fact 
that many younger, and not so young, artists produce 
figurative art today out of an inner psychological or a 
social necessity to express what they see in the world 
and what they think and feel. "Aesthetic standards" to 
them are too ambiguous, too much tied to conditions of 
privilege, too often the subterfuge for dismissing their 
ideas — whether those ideas be aesthetic or political. 

While figurative painters such as Philip Pearlstein 
and Alex Katz have approached their subjects with 
formal concerns primary, others such as Alice Neel and 
Philip Guston consider the formal structuring of the 
parts (as important as it is for visual impact) to be at the 
service of the meaning which they wish to reveal and 

Painting, / 947-/9^0 1 s 1 

Fig. 160. Philip Guston. Cabal, 1977. Oil on canvas, 

68 x 116 inches. Promised soth Anniversary Gift of Mr. and 

Mrs. Raymond J. Learsy, P.H.79. 

with the thoughts and feelings they wish to provoke in 
the viewer. Figurative artists intent on communicating a 
view of humanity — human values and human limita- 
tions within a context of recent history and established 
mores — have relied less on mimesis (imitation of the 
forms of the outside world) than on styles which allow a 
juxtaposition of forms and motifs compelling the 
viewer to synthesize implicit and explicit ideas. Collage, 
expressionism, and Surrealism have offered stylistic 
possibilities for appeasing the requirements of form as 
well as offering solutions for the handling of a more 
ambitious and conscious content. 

The debate goes on, often with polemical shrill- 
ness, as to whether painting finds its analogue in music 
or in literature or whether modernism, with its stress on 
form, has been pre-empted by a post-modernism rigor- 
ously committed to a content extrinsic to the art itself. 
Against the background of such polemics, does the term 
humanism serve any further purpose in our discussions 
of art? 

Implicit in the concept of humanism, right from its 
beginning in ancient Greek culture, was the notion of 
standards (ethical, aesthetic or athletic) sanctioned and 
upheld by an elite group to distinguish itself from the 
ways and modes of slaves, women, non-citizens and 
barbarian outsiders. At the time, Greek civilization, 
given its low level of technology and productivity, could 

not have incorporated the "others" into their democ- 
racy. Therefore, only the elite group was capable of fully 
realizing its humanity. However, from the Renaissance 
to the present time, the humanist ideal of individual 
self-development of mind and body has become ever 
more inclusive. 

In the late twentieth century, with advanced indus- 
trialization and the tremendous increase in produc- 
tivity, such opportunities are potentially available to 
everyone. Now, more than ever, standards are neces- 
sary; indeed, the elimination of standards would invite 
chaos. But in this modern age, standards need not be 
instruments for exclusionary strategies; rather they 
should help the individual measure her or his self- 

In the meantime, the definitions of art historians 
are less important than the variety, extent, directions, 
and latent possibilities of figurative painting being 
produced by artists today, some of whom are working 
out a viable and dynamic form for a content trulv 
democratic and universal in its appeal. Artists should 
take comfort in the knowledge that the often inflexible 
stances of art critics, and the power they wield in the 
media and art market, are in the long run less relevant 
and germane than the artist's search for human mean- 
ing in today's restless and apprehensive world. 


Sculpture, 1941-1980 


After World War II abstract art predominated over 
mimetic art. However, some American sculptors found 
that interpretations of the human figure could be 
individual and modern. Certain aesthetic approaches 
elucidate the continuing selection of the human figure 
by some mid-rwentieth-century artists: 

/ . Philosophical and Psychological Awareness : Sculp- 
tors accepted the validity of their unconscious interior 
worlds and their dream worlds, invariably figurative, 
which evolved from their interest in the teachings of 
Freud and Jung. They emerged in sculptural terms as 
mystery, fantasy, illusion, irony, metamorphosis, and 
anatomical distortion. Not all art stemming from the 
unconscious or dreams is surrealist — some is more 
aptly described as expressionist, motivated by deeply 
personal feelings and imagery. Just as the academic 
sculptor was exploring an ideal world and the realist 
sculptor the physical world, so the expressive sculptor 
sought to re-create the metaphysical realm with distor- 
tions of the human anatomy. Sculpture by Lipchitz, 

Fig. 161. George Segal. Walk, Don't Walk, 1976. Plaster, 
cement, metal, paint, and electric light, 104 X71 x 71 inches. 
Gift of the Louis and Bessie Adler Foundation, Seymour M. 
Klein, President- the Giltnan Foundation, Inc.; the Howard 
ami Jean hipman Foundation, Inc.; and the National En- 
dowment for the Arts, '9.4. 

Grippe, Caesar, Baskin, and Rivers falls into this 

One aspect of twentieth-century psychological 
awareness (in contrast to public denial by the Victorian 
age) is the explicit expression and vivid depiction of 
human sexuality, erotic fantasies, and passion. 
Heralded by Lachaise's figural fragments of the 1930s, 
this subject matter has continued to be important tor 
Nakian, De Andrea, Graham, and Wesselmann, and 
for other American sculptors over the last fifty years. 

The dominant mood of artists changed, as mid- 
century neared, from optimism to pessimism. Instead of 
man as hero, as a symbol of life, wholeness, serenity, 
and harmony, it was defeated, despairing, fearful man 
and the death of the individual that later sculptors, 
including Kienholz, Baskin, Hanson, and Conner, 
tended to depict. Instead of a classical belief in rational 
man they accepted man's irrationality. As Irving Sandler 
points out, the intellectual matrix of vanguard art was 
existentialism in which man does not have a fixed 
essence but is molded by his surroundings, by his 

existence. 1 

2. Fortnalism: Gross, de Creeft, Zorach, Hague, 1 au- 
rent, and other direct carvers continued to view natural 
objects as geometric or crystallized shapes, a deliberate 
simplification of organic morphology, and a search tor 
the essential, the salient formal characteristics ot li\ ing 
beings. Trova's and Tovish's interpretations are 

Fig. 162. William Zorach. The Future Generation, 1942-4-/. 

Botticini marble, 40 x iy x 14 Vi inches. Purchase (and exchange), ji. 32. 

mechanistic reductions. The use of the partial figure is a 
form of abstraction — by decreasing the identity of the 
subject and removing gesture, fragments of the anat- 
omy (the pars pro toto) are less representational and 
more abstract. Baizerman's torso, Von Huene's hands, 
Wesselmann's foot, and Arneson's and Conner's heads 
are examples of such fragments. 

3 . Invention and Originality : For most of this century 
creative genius, artistic intuition, and innovation were 
venerated. Sculptors felt free to employ the human 
figure in whatever manner they wished, often evoking 
eccentric scale, proportion, anatomy, subject, composi- 
tion, and assemblage of human parts. Figurative artists 
felt a compulsion to invent "new images of man," to use 
Peter Selz's phrase. It is such a pervasive intellectual 
conviction of our age, and especially of American 
culture, that it is difficult to understand the reverence of 
previous generations and centuries for accepted and 
traditional classical standards. Thus, anatomical distor- 
tions were motivated by both psychological insights 
and the desire to be avant-garde. During the 1970s, 
however, interest in mimetic realism has increased. 

4. New Materials : Assembling and fabricating figures 
from myriad new man-made materials updated and 
suggested new forms for figurative sculpture. Whereas 
early twentieth-century sculptors felt they should ex- 
press the qualities inherent in stone and wood, mid- 
twentieth-century American sculptors exploited polyes- 
ter resin, epoxy, new metal alloys, and the infinite 
variety of found objects, as well as the traditional 
bronze, terra-cotta, plaster, and wood (but very little 

Direct Carving 

Some of the concepts, techniques, and traditions of the 
period 1900- 40 continued during 1940- 80 in the face 
of the spiraling New York School. William Zorach and 
Jose de Creeft, of the generation born during the 1880s 
and 1890s, remained convinced of the figure's essential 
qualities as a subject. Younger artists such as David 
Smith, Seymour Lipton, Isamu Noguchi, Ibram Lassaw, 
and Herbert Ferber, born during the early years of the 

twentieth century, found that figurative sculpture did 
not fully express their evolving aesthetic philosophy' 
and began creating Isomorphic or geometric abstrac- 
tions. Figurative artists who were born during the 192.0s 
had more difficult experiences during the late 1 940s and 
1950s. They were either castigated or ignored for their 
interest in an illusionistic third dimension, representa- 
tion of any sort, and the subject of the human figure. 
George Segal, for example, was frustrated in his art 
classes at New York University in 1948 and 1949 
because his teachers tried to jolt him out of his 
admiration for the German Expressionists and to 
increase his appreciation for complete abstraction. - 

Zorach carved The future Generation (Fig. 162) 
during 1942-47 in Maine. He wrote to Edith Halpert 
in 194 } that he had established a fine composition, but 
the brittleness of the Botticini marble made it extremely 
difficult to carve. 3 Zorach 's large two-figure groups 
express what he considered the most emotionally 
significant relationships in life — the love between 
mother and child, man and woman, or child and 
animal. Although vanguard artists during the 1940s 
were becoming increasingly cynical, carvers of Zorach 's 
generation and the young artists they inspired through 
their teachings at the Art Students League and 
elsewhere, retained their interest in positive emotions. A 
farmer asked Zorach why he carved a mother and child 
rather than a "real" subject like war and peace. Zorach 
replied, "Without a mother and child, there would be 
neither war nor peace." 4 The Future Generation has 
the solidity, massiveness, and density characteristic of 
Zorach 's carved sculptures and is the most literal 
interpretation of any of his carved multi-figure groups. 5 

Chaim Gross had cut his first two figures in wood 
in 1926, in Robert Laurent's class at the Art Students 
League. Acrobatic Dancers (Fig. 163) was carved in 
1942 from ebony, a material Gross described as a black 
or brownish-black, extremely hard and smooth wood 
which "takes a polish beautifully." 6 Gross was not 
interested in personal qualities of individual acrobats 
but "in a combination of the two or three figures which 
allows him to combine and interlock forms, permitting 
the flow of one form into another." 7 He continued to 
devise acrobats in wood through the 1 9 sos, after which, 
through the 1960s, he proceeded to working directly in 
plaster for subsequent casts in bronze. In 1 9-6 he noted 
that his philosophy of sculpture had also changed: "1 
could not go back and carve wood as I was doing in 
1940. Right now, I could not go through another 
acrobat in a ring or a mother and child."" Currently 

Fig. 16). Chaim Gross. Acrobatic Dancers, 194; 

40V2 x 10V2 x - inches. Purchase, 42.28 


i 5 6 

Gross is employing Old Testament patriarchs to sym- 
bolize such universal ideals as peace and the striving of 
man for eternal qualities. 

Like other American sculptors of his generation 
Raoul Hague, born in 1905, evolved from figurative 
carvings to abstractions during the 1940s. He is a 
relatively reclusive sculptor of the highest integrity, like 
Hugo Robus, and he has had only four one-man 
exhibitions, including a recent one at Xavier Fourcade 
which was well received. 9 Born and educated in 
Constantinople, Hague moved to Ames, Iowa, in 
1921, to New York City in 1925, and has been a 
resident of Woodstock, New York, since 1941. 
Hague learned direct carving from William Zorach at 
the Art Students League in 1927 and 1928, and more 
informally from John Flannagan and Chaim Gross. 
Even more so than his colleagues, Hague seems to have 
immersed himself in the particular qualities of each 
material he has carved and, during the thirties and 
forties, included the name of the material in the title 
(e.g., Blue Stone Figure, Figure in Black Walnut, or 
Torso in Chestnut — sculptures exhibited in the Whit- 
ney Museum Annuals of 1946, 1947, and 1948, respec- 
tively). Hague's Figure in Elm of 1948 (Fig. 164) is 
severely abstracted for a carving and, also unusual, 
assembled of two parts. While the figure is not static (it 
twists and strides buoyantly forward), the emphasis is 
on the concentric annular rings of the surface of the 
elmwood. Thomas B. Hess perceptively noted that 
Hague's sculptures "are individual personalities," and 
that "their humanity is specific and becomes general by 
the very strength of its unique, human quality," adding 
that "the fact that they are beautiful is what makes this 
quality so moving." 10 That same year, in a rare 
statement, Hague wrote, "In the last thirty years, of all 
the artists I have known, there have been only three 
whose eyes I could trust — Gorky, Tomlin and 
Guston — and I have used them in my own develop- 
ment." 11 The analogy in Hague's carvings to Arshile 
Gorky's biomorphic abstractions is clear, but to Bradley 
Walker Tomlin's ribbon-like forms or to Philip Guston's 
painterly Abstract Expressionism, less so. Hague and de 
Creeft, pioneers of taille directe, continue to carve to 
the present day. 

Fig. 164. Raoul Hague. Figure in Elm, 1948. Elm, 

48V2 x 14 x 14 inches. Gift of the Howard and jean Lipman 

Foundation, Inc., 66.16. 

Fig. 165. Paul Fiene. Bust of Grant Wood, c. 1941. Bronze, 
17V4 x 7V2 x 8 inches. Promised gift of Mr. and Mrs. George 
D.Stoddard. 1. — . 

Fig. 166. Jacques Lipchitz. Marsden Hartley Sleeping, 1942. 
Bronze, io x U x 7% x 10 inches. Gift of Benjamin Sonnen- 
berg, 76.41. 


Portraiture is a traditional form of figurative sculpture 
which continues to be executed by conservative and 
experimental artists alike. Two bronze portrait heads of 
American artists created in 1942, Bust of Grant Wood 
by Paul Fiene and Marsden Hartley Sleeping by Jacques 
Lipchitz, exhibit two approaches to interpretive yet 
representational three-dimensional likenesses. Fiene's 
hard, gleaming, smooth surfaces contrast to Lipchitz's 
softer, blurred, rough modeling. The unique cast of 
Bust of Grant Wood (Fig. 165), like Duchamp- Villon's 
Baudelaire (191 1) and Sterne's Bomb Thrower (1910), 
is reductive, planar, and geometric, powerful in its 
directness and simplicity. The polished unbroken sur- 

faces of Fiene's portrait apparently carried over from his 
stone carvings of animals. 

Jacques Lipchitz arrived in New York in June 
1941. He immediately established contacts with dealers 
(Curt Valentin and Joseph Brummer), foundries (ini- 
tially Roman Bronze Foundry but changing in 1941 to 
the Modern Art Foundry), collectors (Edgar J. Kauf- 
mann, owner of Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water" 
at Bear Run), and artists (Chaim Gross lent him 
modeling tools). Although Lipchitz was working on 
several versions of Mother and Child, he was having a 
difficult time earning a living and so decided to make a 
series of portraits. Lipchitz recalled his attendance at an 
opening of an exhibition at Helena Rubinstein's and his 
creation of portrait of Marsden Hartley Sleeping 
(Fig. 166): 

i 5 8 

In the crowd at the opening I saw a man who 
seemed to me to have a typical American face. . . . 
We were introduced (although I still did not know 
who he was), and he said he would be delighted to 
pose. I made three portraits of him, one in terra 
cotta, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New 
York. One time, when he came to my studio, he 
said, "Jacques, I have just seen an old man sleeping 
on a bench, like this, " and he assumed the pose of 
the sleeping man in such a graphic manner that 1 
immediately said, "Marsden, will you hold that 
pose so I can make a sketch of you like that?" I also 
made a third sketch, later cast in bronze in seven 
issues.* 2 

Lipchitz stated that "Hartley was an interesting 
man of great sensitivity and, I think, an important 
American painter. He had a wonderful head, a very 
sensitive face, and I believe the portrait of him is a good 
one." 13 As it turned out Lipchitz did not model a series 
of portraits, modeling only one other in 1942 — of Curt 
Valentin. That year Monroe Wheeler selected all three 
portraits of Hartley for his exhibition at the Museum of 
Modern Art, 20th Century Portraits, placing Lipchitz's 
portraits within the ambience of Rodin. Certainly the 
kneaded, nervous surface of Marsden Hartley Sleeping 
echoes the textural qualities of Rodin's. 

The rich painterly qualities of Larry River's paint- 
ings are carried over to his sculpture of Berdie Seated, 
Clothed (Fig. 167). Rivers felt that he shared the interest 
in process and formalism of his teacher (Hans Hof- 
mann) and of the Abstract Expressionists but that he 
was different from them in his realism. 14 Rivers began 
modeling such small sculptures as Berdie Seated, 
Clothed in 19 51, part of a series of paintings, prints, and 
bronzes of his mother-in-law, Bertha "Berdie" Burger, 
who lived with Rivers and his sons from 1950 until her 
death in 1957. The blurry surface texture of the small 
sculpture of Berdie can also be found in Rivers's life-size 
plaster figures, also begun in 19 51, not unlike the 
haunting archetypal presences of Baskin's standing 
figures, each a mythical unity. In 1957 Rivers began to 
work on welded sculptures and in 1965 on giant 

Expressionist Metal Works: 
Modeled and Hammered 

In contrast to Lipchitz's portraits, which were like- 
nesses, and to his geometric cubist works created be- 

Fig. 167. Larry Rivers. Berdie Seated, Clothed, 19 n • Bronze, 
10 x 6V2 x 9% inches. Laurence H. Bloedel Bequest, 77.1.45. 

tween 1915 and 1925, the swelling, organic forms of his 
mature figurative works were powerfully emotional. 
He recorded the history and iconography oi Sacrifice, II 
(PI. 29), a sculpture expressive of the anger he felt 
during the 1940s. In his autobiography, Lipchitz re- 
called that "the man holds the cock of expiation over his 
head, prepared for sacrifice," one of the earliest exam- 
ples in his sculpture of a narrative or Jewish theme. 15 In 
the small study for Sacrifice, which he modeled in 

the man (he is not actually a rabbi but an 
individual specially ordained to perform the sac- 
rifice) is killing the cock. This is more massively 
conceived than the sketch. This subject fascinated 
me. . . . [In the second and third version ] the figure 
becomes more upright and hieratical, the cock s 
wings and feathers more dramatically scattered, 
and a reclining lamb is introduced between the 
figure's legs. Why I shoidd have done this I cannot 
recall, since the lamb is rather a Christian than a 
Jewish symbol and is definitely not a victim of the 
sacrifice. I may have been thinking of the con- 
tinuity of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and I may, 
as well, have wanted something between the legs to 
lend stability to the entire composition. . . . The use 
of the dagger is deliberate, to heighten the sense of 

s< ulpture, lyji - i 159 

Fig. 169. Peter Grippe. Three Furies, II, 1955-56. Bronze, 
14 x 11V2 x 9-V4 inches. Purchase, s~-44- 

drama. I think this is one of my major works. It 
certainly is strong and complete, but it un- 
questionably comes out of some continuing feeling 
of anger. I could not make it today because my 
mood is different, much happier, more optimistic. 
Sacrifice is heavy and enigmatic, even brutal, and 
now, in my present mood, I want my sculptures to 
be saturated with light. 16 

The mood is similar to that of contemporary painters. 

The figure had always been central in the 
sculptural oeuvre of Jacques Lipchitz and Henry Moore 
and they had a profound impact upon American 
figurative artists during the 1940s. Lipchitz's one-man 
exhibition at Joseph Brummer's gallery in 1935 P re " 
ceded his actual presence in New York. Curt Valentin 
organized one-man shows for Lipchitz at the Buchholz 
Gallery in 1942, 1943, ! 94^, 1948, and 1951, and 
Lipchitz's sculpture was regularly exhibited in the 
Whitney Museum Annuals. Little-known sculptor 
Robert Moir's limestone Mother and Child (Fig. 168) is 
quite unselfconsciously derived from both Moore and 
Lipchitz. The face of Moir's mother is partially solid 
and partially void in the manner of the man in Lipchitz's 
Sacrifice or the mother in his Mother and Child of 1 949. 
In both Moir's and Lipchitz's Mother and Child cloth is 
draped over the head and arm. The massive doughy 

flow of limbs, so obviously molded from daj in the 
Lipchitz, have become static, refined, and hard in the 
Moir. Moir's Cumulus, exhibited at the 19s 1 Annual 
I xhibition of ( ontemporary Amerii an Si ulpture at the 
Whitney Museum, is also derivative of Lipchitz-like 
compositions and formal devices, and Moir's Pro- 
metheus I 'abound shown m the imn4 Whitney Mu- 
seum Annual) derives its title from a masterpiece by 

The philosophical systems of artists who reached 
maturity during the 1940s continue to this c\.\\ ro be 
dependent on concepts of paradox, the dialectical, 
creative contradictions, and the tension between oppo- 
sites whereby the grotesque is beautiful and ugliness is 
sublime. Figurative and abstract sculptures became a 

Fig. 168. Robert \l<>tr. Mother and t hiU, 1950. Limestone, 

::'j x /}V2 x 10 inches. I'm chase. $2. 18. 

Fig. 170. Doris Caesar. Woman on One Knee, n.d. Bronze, 
14V2 x 4% x 8 3 M inches. Lawrence H. Bloedel Bequest. 

Fig. iyi. Doris Caesar. Torso, 1953. Bronze, 58 x 14 % x u 
inches. Purchase (and exchange), 54.30. 

complex interplay of polarities and also frequently 
reflected Gestalt theories. The major link between the 
New York artists and Gestalt psychology was Rudolf 
Arnheim, who taught at the New School for Social 
Research during the 1940s. Sculptors were concerned 
with a whole organism greater than the sum of its parts. 

During the 1940s several sculptors changed from 
carving or modeling massive figures to welding linear 
airy designs. This led Ibram Lassaw and Herbert Ferber 
to creating sculptural drawings in space which were 
non-objective and Peter Grippe to placing figures in his 
open airy cages as he did in Three Furies, II (Fig. 169). 
Like Alberto Giacometti, Grippe after 1944 was more 
concerned with the impact of space than he was with 
the illusionistic reality of the figure. 17 Although Grippe's 
sculptures fall within the ambience of Lipchitz, whom 
he knew, the differences are major. Grippe's construc- 

tions are more transparent, the forms are articulated 
more particularly and he is more interested in an 
architectural environment. There is a greater prolifera- 
tion of lines, spaces, and surface configurations in 
Grippe's work, which is also more grotesque. Artists 
during the decade of World War II were obsessed with 
tormented, tortured figures reflecting the angst of their 

Born and trained in Buffalo, New York, Grippe 
taught in the Federal Arts Project in New York during 
the 1930s, used terra-cotta as his primary medium 
during the 1940s, and was on the faculty of Black 
Mountain College from 1946 to 1948, a time when 
Josef Albers, John Cage, Willem de Kooning, 
Buckminster Fuller, Merce Cunningham, and Richard 
Lippold were teaching there. 

In 1959 Lloyd Goodrich and John I. H. Baur or- 

S ( ulpturc, n)4i - H)Ho l6l 

ganized an exhibition entitled Four American Expres- 
sionists, which included Chain) Gross and Dons 
Caesar, two sculptors whose art is entirely concerned 
with the human figure. The authors maintained that 
expressionism was a style term and not an organized 
movement in America but concluded that ex- 
pressionists freely distorted the human figure and other 
natural recognizable subject matter to impart emo- 
tional response to the experience.' 8 Doris Caesar's early 
works were heavy and stolid (most of them destroyed), 
but during the 1 940s and 1 9 50s she modeled attenuated 
female figures like Woman on One Knee (Fig. 170) and 
Torso (Fig. 171) which were cast in bronze. She had 
studied painting at the Art Students League (1909) and 
sculpture with Alexander Archipenko and Rudolf 
Belling. She reduced her subject to the single theme of 
the nude female form and she poured out the aspira- 
tions and the pathos of her subjects in elongated shapes 
and fragile anatomical parts. 19 

Saul Baizerman's human figures are also ex- 
pressively rendered, brought into twentieth-century 
terms by his choice of the partial figure and his unusual 
techniques of hammering his bronze casts (during the 
1920s) or forcing copper sheets into a mold by the 
repousse method (after 1926). Born in Russia in 1889, 
he studied at the National Academy of Design in 191 1 
and thereafter with Solon Borglum at the Beaux- Arts 
Institute of Design in New York. 20 His sculptures of the 
1920s were modeled statuettes of laborers in action, 
e.g., Two Men Lifting (1922), Cement Man, and Man 
with a Shovel (or The Digger, 1924). 21 His large 
hammered-copper works of the 1930s required years to 
complete and were named for musical terms: Sonata 
Primitive, Appassionata, Pastoral, Sculptured Sym- 
phony, Eroica, Crescendo, Elegy. Musical analogizing 
is suggested by the tempo of rhythmic relief curves 
across the horizontal surface of the metal. Baizerman's 
monumental relief torsos like Slumber (Fig. 172) are 
abstracted, but retain the harmony of human curves 
and counter curves, adding the visual excitement of his 
direct-metal processes (no preliminary sketches). 

Leonard Baskin's metaphysical sculptures are ex- 
pressive of life/death paradoxes. Between 1952 and 
1968 Baskin produced a series of monumental figures of 
recumbent dead men of walnut, limestone, and 
bronze. 22 They were not on a journey like an Egyptian 
Pharaoh, or asleep like a medieval lord, or a Christ 
triumphant in death, but just ordinary unheroic 
death — our death, but promising hope of life. Arche- 
typal Hephaestus (Fig. 173), while vertical, appears 

Fig. ijz. Saul Baizertnan. Slumber, 1948. Hammered copper, 
40 x 25 x 23 inches. Purchase, 48.10. 

scarcely more alive. The eyes are closed and hardly 
articulated. The chest is filled with life-giving breath but 
the rigid limbs, impossible stance, and absence of 
alertness render Hephaestus dead. The qualities of 
stillness and quiet in sculpture have impressed Baskin 
since his student years. Drawings by Baskin accompain 
the publication of books of Greek mythology and of 
Conrad Aiken's Thee, a stanza of which augments our 
understanding of Baskin's sculpture: 

Where shall I abide 

cries the spirit 

mind changes 

and body changes with it 

body changes 

and mind changes with it. a 

Baskin labels himself a moral realist who finds the 
human frame "glorious" and regards man, though 
debauched, redemptible. He is not describing specific 
people, as Hanson does, but models, symbols of human 
destiny. Not only does Baskin retain a traditional belief 
in humanism but he also scorns technical inno\ ations, 
preferring to create allegorical sculpture in age-old 
wood and bronze. There is a certain confraternit) ot 
images between Baskin's sculptured men and the figura- 
tive sculptures of the Frenchmen c esar [Baldaccini] and 
Jean Ipousteguy, and with Pablo Picasso's Man with 
Sheep (1944) and Pregnant Woman (1950).** 

Fig. 173. Leonard Raskin. Hephaestus, 1963. Bronze, 
63 V4 x 23 V2 x 23 % inches. Gift of the Friends of the 
Whitney Museum of American Art, 64.16. 

Tableaux: Assemblage and 
Found Objects 

Not since Gianlorenzo Bernini's St. Theresa in Ecstasy 
(Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome, 
1645-52) have sculptors produced tableaux so cre- 
atively, so dynamically reflecting the intellectual convic- 
tions of their age. Modern tableaux arose from new 
sculptural materials, from the theater, from photog- 
raphy, and especially from the "Happenings" by Allan 
Kaprow and others during the early 1960s. Two 
assembled sculpture/scenes created in 1964 demon- 
strate the range of materials, methods, and messages 
implicit in sculpture as tableau. Edward Kienholz's 
depressingly grotesque The Wait (Fig. 174) is very 
different from the fashionable beauty and optimism 

expressed in Marisol's Women and Dog of 1964 
(Fig. 175). Created the year after the assassination of 
the President, it recalls the Kennedy-Camelot age. 25 
Satire, amusing in Marisol's work, is biting and bitter in 
Kienholz's. Who amongst us has not visited an elderly 
relative surrounded with the grayness of dust, dimming 
vision, and overflowing photographs, and determined 
that the repulsive condition would never happen to us? 
Kienholz jolts the viewer with the tragedy of growing 
old in America, a pervasive, unremedied social prob- 
lem. Even the illusionistic presence of Hanson's Old 
Woman (1976) does not overwhelm us with the hideous 
social reality of Kienholz's. Although the calm, serene 
resignation of Hanson's sculpture does not jar us, it 
simultaneously evokes in the viewer feelings of 
superiority and the fear of recognition of self. 

Robert Graham created tableaux on a smaller scale 
during the late 1960s, modeling tiny realistic human 
figures in wax surrounded by environments fabricated 
of found objects, cardboard, balsa wood, and metal, all 
enclosed in a clear plexiglas box. In Untitled (Fig. 176) 
a nude lies face down on a rumpled bed in an otherwise 
empty room (prefiguring John De Andrea's life-size 
resin Sleeping Woman on Bed of 1974.) 26 More 
recently, in Lise of 1977 and other pedestal sculptures, 
Graham enlarged the figures, rendered them with 
almost classical idealism, broke them into fragments, 
and cast them in bronze. He is concentrating on the 
human figure because he claims, "Everything is in it." 27 
He recognizes technology in his use of videotapes of 
nude models in motion which he replays as he works the 
wax or clay. 28 Whereas the mimetic resin and wax 
figures of Hanson, De Andrea, and Graham are so 
lifelike that formalist considerations give way to discus- 
sion of subject, Lise and Graham's more recent works 
suggest analysis based on aesthetic criteria. Mary 
Frank, Frank Gallo, and Graham (especially in Lise) 
eschew solid massive structures. The chiaroscuro of 
their works is not the play of light across the surface but 
the interplay of dark interior hollows and light ex- 
teriors, another example of paradox in which 
sculptures of recent decades are rooted. Graham's 
collaboration with George Segal, Leonard Baskin, and 
Neil Estern on a fifty-foot-long wall of bas reliefs for the 
Franklin D. Roosevelt memorial in Washington, D.C., 
should change the direction of monumental sculpture in 
the capital city. 

George Segal's classic tableaux consist of one or 
several people assembled in prosaic settings. Although 
his figures appear to be another form of emotional 

Fig. i j 4. Edward Kienholz. The Wait, 1964-65. Tableau: epoxy, glass, wood, and found objects, 
80 x 148 Xy8 inches. Giftof the Howard and Jean Liptnan Foundation, Inc., 66.49. 

narrative and realistic genre, the works also arc allegor- 
ical and metaphysical, dealing with the human condi- 
tion as well as a specific ordinary situation. Segal's 
plaster sculptures are yet another instance of antitheti- 
cal elements operating simultaneously. His seemingly 
lifeless figures provoke questions about life and portray 
Segal's own psychic state. According to Martin Fried- 
man, they are "frozen moments in real life [which] 
reveal the artist's overwhelming desire to give perma- 
nence to transitory events, thereby holding on to life. It 
seems Segal is reflecting on mortality." 29 Segal's own 
comments on Cinema (1963) apply to Walk, Don't 
Walk (Fig. 1 61) and to his sculpture in general: "I love to 
watch people. I'm interested in their gestures and I'm 
interested in their experiences and mine. In the early 
years I spent a lot of time trying to look as bluntly as I 
could at people in their environments. Very often I saw 
them against garish light, illuminated signs. I saw them 
against visually vivid objects that were considered low 
class, anti-art, un-art, kitsch, disreputable. . . ." 80 Thus, 
Segal's art is sometimes eternal and sometimes tem- 

Duane Hanson, like most of the first generation 

American abstract constructivist sculptors, worked at 
carving during his formative years. 31 His first 
polyester-resin sculptures were fashioned between 1966 
and 1968 while he was an instructor at Miami-Dade 
Community College and were then exhibited and 
known only in Florida. Ivan Karp, impressed by slides 
of Hanson's work, exhibited his sculptures in New 
York, originally at the Leo Castelli Gallery and then in 
1969 at his own O.K. Harris Gallery. Robert Doty 
selected several of Hanson's life-size tableaux. Riot, 
Accident, and Pieta, for the Whitney Museum's 
Human Concern /Personal Torment exhibition which 
studied the sublimity of the grotesque and the social 
impact of the ugly. Violence was an important subject 
for artists during the Vietnam years. 

Although Hanson claims that it is not his goal, his 
painfully perceptive social commentaries arc srartlingb 
illusionistic. The seated woman from Woman and Dog 
(PI. 30) was cast from a live model. Hanson made 
negative molds in about six parts from which the resin 
positive mass is layered with fiberglass reinforcement. 
He added flesh-tinted "skin" and authentic clothing and 
apparatus. The dog was shaped by hand rather than 



Fig. 175. Marisol. Women and Dog, 1964. Fur, leather, 
plaster, synthetic polymer, and wood, 72 x 82 x 16 inches. 
Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art, 

cast from a mold, and Hanson meticulously applied 
hair clipped from a real dog. The completed figures 
resemble but do not replicate his models, and his 
sculptured figures may be a composite of several. 

Although both Segal and Hanson cast from live 
models and group figures in life-size scenarios, their 
sculpture is quite different. With Segal one feels the 
intensity and the stillness of a quiet moment in urban 
daily life. Hanson's works of the 1970s focus on the 
archetypal common man who appears to him to be 
appalling in his banality and unaware of his absurdity. 
But how many enlightened perceptive geniuses can 
escape this ignoble dull vernacular of life? Hanson is 
aware of the dialectics of reality, of the bittersweet 
aspects of existence, and of the absurdity and the 
unremitting pressure of the commonplace and the 

Hanson's early reclining figures from tableaux 
such as War and Riot of 1967 and some of Segal's 
works echo the silhouettes and shapes of the plaster 
casts of the lava-covered panic-stricken bodies found at 
Pompeii in the nineteenth century. Baskin owned a 
portfolio of photographs of the plaster casts, Marino 
Marini acknowledged influence from them, and Han- 
son and Segal were obviously cognizant of them. 

Fig. 176. Robert Graham. Untitled, 1968. Balsa wood, 
plexiglas, and wax, 12 x 30 x rj inches. Gift of the Howard 
and Jean Lipman Foundation, Inc., 69.56. 

Fig. 177. Niki de Saint Phalle. Black Venus, 1967. Painted 
polyester, no x 3 5 x 24 inches. Gift of the Howard and Jean 
Liptnan Foundation, Inc., 68.75. 

Industrial and Innovative 
Sculptural Media 

Niki de Saint Phalle's Black Venus (Fig. 177) and Frank 
Gallo's figures are more decorative and involved with 
playful activities. Black Venus is an odd juxtaposition 
of bright colorful pattern and the bulk of a twice 
life-size black-painted female figure. 12 Gallo's The 
Swimmer (Fig. 178) indicates his greater interest in 
svelte fashionable figures, popular imagery, and mild 

Fig. 1-8. Frank Gallo. The Swimmer, /9'>4- Polyester resin, 
6j x 16 x 4; ' 4 inches. Gift of the Friends of the Whitney 
Museum of Ann-man Art and the artist. 6 f.:?. 

Fig. ij<). Richard Fleischner. Walking Figure, 1970. Bronze, 
copper, and silver, 7V4 x 12 V2 x 1% inches. Anonymous gift, 

satire than in social realism. The illusionism of Gallo's 
sculptures is denied by the absence of a back — his 
epoxy people are relief-like hollow fragmented shells. 

Richard Fleischner created both life-sized tableaux 
and microcosms on tiny reliefs. His Walking Figure of 
1970 (Fig. 179) is a small cast-metal sculpture. Fleisch- 
ner also made white plaster figures, polyester-resin 
life-size figures, environmental site-specific sculptures, 
and photographs. 33 His photograph Handball Court 
Wall, 1965, relates directly to his intimate hand-sized 
sculptures like Walking Figure. Both are organized as a 
plane (wall) of articulated bricks in front of which tiny 
figures move or play. The discrepancy in size between 
the hard-edged man-made objects and the minuscule 
human beings suggests a monumental size denied by the 
actual height of the relief sculpture (about eight 
inches.). In Walking Figure, Fleischner contrasted the 
regulated flat surface of the wall, with its exactly spaced 
incised lines, to the kneaded rough surface on which the 
tiny figure stands. The wall looks machine made but the 
modeler's nervous fingers are clear in the fingerprints 
which were pressed into the clay of the ground. 

Fleischner stated that the major influence on his 
work during the late 1960s was the sculpture of Alberto 
Giacometti, especially City Square of 1948 (The Mu- 
seum of Modern Art, New York). In both Fleischner's 
Walking Figure and Giacometti's City Square, the 
mood of the overwhelming loneliness and detachment 
of the people in modern society is evoked. In the 
post- World War II era, American sculptors exhibited an 
awareness of contemporary developments in European 
figurative sculpture but were not awed or overwhelmed 
by it. Picasso, Moore, Marini, Giacometti, and Richier 

continued to improvise and discover creative potential 
in the human figure, but during the 1940s and 1950s 
European artists were probably more inspired by 
American abstract sculpture. The innovative work of 
the last twenty years has come particularly from 
American ceramic and resin figurative sculptors. 

Manufactured and non-traditional materials and 
found objects have led to funky art, biting pessimism, 
and strange anthropomorphic distortions, especially 
during the 1960s. Assemblages like Medusa (Fig. 180) 
by Bruce Conner, a California artist, have been var- 
iously labeled neo-surrealist, funk, and a reflection of 
our junk culture. 34 Most of Peter Selz's descriptions of 
funk art apply to Conner's Medusa : antiform, bizarre, 
ugly, confident, defiant, and irrational. 35 Like some 
bloated creature washed up on the shore in a torn nylon 
bag, the sulptured wax head surrounded by junk is 
intentionally repulsive, a reminder of the grotesque 
qualities of our culture. Typical of avant-garde Bay Area 
artists, Conner did not care about public reactions or 
moralities and felt antipathy both toward permanence 
in sculpture and toward museums which cherished and 
sheltered objects. 

The future of figurative sculpture depends upon 
the attitudes of new generations of artists. In 1968, after 
working in collage, painting, and other media, Nancy 
Grossman began to fabricate studded-leather heads 
over a wood core. Primarily images of fantasy, 
sculptures like Head (Fig. 181) are also real —the artist 
particularizes the nose for breathing and the mouth to 
project words. The zippers are closures, means of entry 
to the interior subconscious mind. 36 Persistent Yet 
Unsuccessful Swordsman (Fig. 182) by another eccen- 

s ( ulpture, 1941 — 198 167 

Fig. 180. Bruce Conner. Medusa, i960. Cardboard, hair. 
nylon, wax, and wood, 10 3 A x / 1 x 22 V* inches. Gift of the 
Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation, />/<., 66.19. 

trie Californian, Stephan Von Huene, is an anatomical 
fragment (ostensibly a hand) and a double-entendre. 
The two-fingered hand can be analogized to two 
upraised female legs and the thumb to an out-of-scale 
penis. The lack of success of the man, suggested by the 
title, can be attributed to either the fixed yet distant 
position of the functioning parts or to the tightly laced 
corset encasing the arm (torso). His leather and wood 
Hermaphroditic Horseback Rider also has sexual con- 
notations. Von Huene had a strong interest in sculpture 
as musical machine (e.g. Pneumatic Music-Machine, 
also called Kaleidoscopic Dog) as well as to figurative 
allusions. 37 

Mechanistic Man 

The amalgamation of man and machine, the creation of 
humanoids in science fiction literature and films has 
echoes in sculpture. Ernest Trova invented a sleek, 
anthropomorphic, faceless, mock robot with his 
Study/Falling Man 7966 (Fig. 183). Jan van der Marck 
described Trova's prostrate man as a frame of a rolling 
car from which valves protrude and a radiator grill 
becomes a crash helmet, a symbol of the paradox of 
modern man who is in control of his world yet 
controlled by it. 38 Just as one can view the human 
condition today optimistically or pessimistically, so 
Trova insists that, despite the ordeals he inflicts on his 
subject, the "Falling Man" image should be read in a 

Fig. 181. Nancy Grossman. Head, 1968. Epoxy, leather, and 
wood, 16V4 x 6V2 x 8V2 inches. Gift of the Howard and lean 
Lipman Foundation, Inc., 68.S1. 

Fig. 182. Stephan Von Huene. Persistent Yet Unsuccessful 
Swordsman, 1965. Leather and wood, 28V2 x 6 3 A x 6V2 
inches. Gift of the Howard and lean Lipman Foundation, 
Inc., 68.44. 

positive way. He claims to project man as master of his 
own fate, composed in defeat as well as in triumph, 
untouched by irrational panic, and cognizant of his 
coming and going on this planet as he is of time and 
eternity. 39 

Mechanistic man is also evoked by both the image 
and the title of Harold Tovish's Vortex of 1966 
(Fig. 184). Vortex usually refers to the vacuum at the 
center of a liquid whirling in a circular motion. In 
contrast, the contour of Tovish's profile (self-portrait) 
appears to have been thrown by centrifugal force to the 
outer circumference of the circle while he remains solid, 
intact, and human within, at the core. The name and the 
interpretation may also have been inspired by vorticism 
which purported to relate art tonus to the machine. In 
Tovish's bronze and wood Interior. /, [962 (Hirshhom 
Museum and Sculpture Garden), the relief sculpture of 
his face emerges from behind a board. Tovish credited 
Franz Kafka with teaching him that the comical and the 
sinister can be identical."' 

Fig. 183. Ernest Trova. Study/Falling Man 1966, 1966. 
Silicon bronze, 11 x 78V2 x 31 inches. Gift of Howard and 
Jean Lipman, 6j.11. 

Fig. 184. Harold Tovish. Vortex, 1966. Bronze, 66 x 18 x 18 
inches. Gift of an anonymous donor and purchase, 66.132. 

Ceramic Sculpture 

While ceramic sculpture has been created throughout 
the century, there appears to be an upsurge of interest 
and innovation in recent years, notably by Robert 
Arneson and Mary Frank. Reuben Nakian has used the 
medium creatively for decades. Nakian's Pastorale of 
1950 (Fig. 185) is a sculptor's drawing gouged out of 
and added to a small disc-like slab of terra-cotta similar 

to the reliefs in the Europa series which he created 
between 1948 and 1965. The scratch relief plaques 
display a Rubenesque delight in voluptuous female 
sensuality, though Pastorale is not as erotic as the 
mythological figures of his Europa series. 

A little-known aspect of Louise Nevelson's 
sculptural oeuvre is her early work which included 
terra-cotta figures. 41 The several individual units of 
Moving —Static —Moving Figures of about 1945 
(Fig. 186) are solid blocky masses, cast and assembled 
vertically on dowel-like cores. Like Nakian's later 
intaglio reliefs, Nevelson incised design lines in the 
terra-cotta. For her, clear continuous lines indicate 
facial features and abstractions of other anatomical 

Life drawings by Nevelson dating from the 1930s 
in the Whitney Museum collection consist of sparse 
lines signifying abstracted, partial female figures. These 
lyrical curvilinear drawings, within the ambience of 
Matisse and Lachaise, are highly individual, exciting, 
and different from her early figurative sculptures com- 
posed of sharp, angular, blocky geometric masses. 

Robert Arneson is a pioneering ceramicist from 
California who innovated in his own work a transition 
from Abstract Expressionist (1950s) to Pop and funk 
(1960s) to a highly personalized style (1970s) that defies 
labeling. 42 His recent monumental portrait heads are 
both heroes and clowns (the name given to an exhibi- 
tion of his portraits at the Frumkin Gallery in New York 
last year). Although polychrome had been used early in 
the century by such American sculptors as Max Weber 
(1915) and John Storrs (1919), and ceramic was a 
natural medium for color in sculpture, Nakian, 
Noguchi, Frank, and Nevelson did not add paint or 
chromatic glazes to their ceramic sculptures, depending 
instead on a range of values to articulate forms. 
Arneson's sculptures are colorful but not overpainted 
like much of Abstract Expressionist and funk ceramic 
sculpture. Whistling in the Dark (Pi. 31) is for Arneson 
a relatively tame self-portrait. 43 It includes no gesture, 
antisocial or otherwise; the head is upright and intact 
(no one is swimming inside), and the face is not twisted 
or contorted, a twentieth-century version of the obses- 
sion with self-portraits of such artists as Rembrandt and 
van Gogh. Arneson initiated Whistling in the Dark as a 
self-portrait; the particular facial contortions were 
inspired by a magazine photograph. Arneson explained 
that when you do not know what you are doing you are 
"whistling in the dark" and that the sculpture is a 
symbol of capturing those places or qualities that do not 

Sculpture, i<j4i - | \ (•,<■) 

Fig. 185. Reuben Nakian. Pastorale, /950. Terra-cotta. 
15 x 10 x 9 inches. Gift of the artist in memory of Juliana 
Force, 61.47. 

exist, the gaps between assurances. He created the head 
in terra-cotta, closed the damper of the gas kiln more 
than usual, which reduced the iron in the clay to a metal 
and increased the amount of carbon in the clay and 
darkened it. When I asked him the significance of the 
yellow polychrome, Arneson answered, "What other 
color would you use for a whistler than canary 
yellow?" 4 - 4 

Like Arneson, Mary Frank brought dynamic inno- 

vations to her sculpture and to ceramics. 1 ler torn-clay 
organic terra-cotta fragments are unprecedented — that 
is not to say that echoes of historical sculptural 

morphology cannot be cited. She is fascinated with 
fossils, natural living beings, and objects in the Ameri- 
can Museum of Natural History. Metamorphosis, 
figures in motion, and process are critical to her, and 
some of her figurative sculptures like Swimmer (PI. 32) 
seem infinite. 45 She does not work within a controlling 
contour line or framework. It is instead a dynamic 
assemblage of vital fragments. Working in clay is so 
much more tenuous than immediately casting a plaster 
positive of the form: "If it will survive the firing 
Mary Frank keeps saying about works in her studio still 
unbaked. 48 Several times a year she fires the kiln at her 
country house in the Catskills. Once they have been 
baked, the assemblages of terra-cotta parts are still 
fragile and will provide a challenge to curators. Fasci- 
nated with Nakian's free-form terra-cotta slabs incised 
with a stylus, Frank experimented with the process and 
in 1969 began working directly in terra-cotta figures. In 
1974 she increased her scale to life-size figures like 
Swimmer. Eleanor Munro, who has interviewed Frank 

Fig. 186. Louise Nevelson. 
Moving — Static — Moving Fig- 
ures, c /94 f. Ferra-t 1 >.'.-.;. '." 
individual pieces, sizes 1 orj 
of the artist, 69.159. 

Fig. 187. Bruno Lucchesi. Woman Undressing, 1964. Bronze 
relief, 27% x iy 3 A inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Haim 
Shwisha, 65.91. 

extensively, described them in her recent book, Origi- 
nals, as "Hollow, all disconnections, empty space and 
impermanent manifestations of matter, the figures 
hovered somewhere between worlds, as living people 
standing in sea water with their arms bent seem to 
belong wholly to neither the land nor the air." 47 

The Persistence of Tradition 

Frank's, Arneson's, and Stephen De Staebler's ceramic 
works suggest one dynamic new interpretation of the 
figure in the face of equally exciting developments in 
abstract and environmental sculpture. In 1961 David 
Smith stated that artists created abstractions because 
that was the valid direction of art: "Nor will we go 
back, in either sculpture or painting, to any form of 
representation." 18 Smith was expressing the philosophy 
dominant among abstract artists twenty years ago. In 
Clement Greenberg's terms, complete abstraction was 
historically determined to dominate the arts. He wrote 

in 1948, "The human body is no longer postulated as 
the agent of space in either pictorial or sculptural art; 
now it is eyesight alone." 49 Greenberg was also percep- 
tive enough to realize that by driving a tendency to its 
furthest extreme one finds one's self abruptly going in 
the opposite direction. 50 The more abstract and pure art 
became, the greater the urgency for its opposite (repre- 
sentational art) to re-emerge. For Greenberg, the whole 
history of art is a matter of dialectical fluctuation 
between abstraction and representation, a case of 
ironical conversion of opposites. 51 

The essence of post-modern realism is the ac- 
ceptance of the validity of a wide range of styles. Fine, 
sensitive figurative sculptors like Richard Miller and 
Bruno Lucchesi (Fig. 187) are not ignored or castigated 
because they are working within the traditional vocabu- 
lary of modeled sculpture. The subject of the last frame 
of Lucchesi's bronze relief Woman Undressing is the 
same as Robert Graham's Untitled (Fig. 176) or John 
De Andrea's Sleepmg Woman on Bed, but the means 
and mode are different. His fusion of motion and form 
is different from Trova's yet he convincingly depicts 
fluid graceful movement. Richard Miller's sculptures 
appeal to conservative and avant-garde connoisseurs 
alike. 52 His nude female figures are more realistic than 
their academic counterparts, and his interest in the 
transparency, framing potential, and abstract form and 
space of the bronze grids, which provide the environ- 
ment for his figures, is modern. Lucchesi and Miller 
optimistically reaffirm the positive qualities inherent in 
human beings. 

Recently there has been a revival of interest in a 
more personal set of symbols which includes individual 
unique figures or partial figures.* 3 Few figurative 
sculptors perceive the creation of the human image as 
their only end product. There is usually significant 
spiritual content that may or may not be readily 
communicated to the viewer. A more pluralistic view of 
art, with its proliferation of accepted styles and media, 
is the direction of the immediate future. The feeling that 
it is necessary to be modern is waning. 

At the onset of a new decade and of the beginning 
of the end of the twentieth century, one can safely 
predict that dynamic and exciting figurative sculptures 
will be created in ceramic and polyester resin, that the 
poetic beauty of traditional bronze casts of the nude or 
partially draped human figure will continue, and that 
the amalgamation of man and machine will provoke 
creative genius. The figure is a positive continuing mode 
of representation for artists. 


Chapter I 

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney as Patron 

The most frequently consulted sources for this chapter are: 

The chronological files of documentary material on and personal 
journals of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, organized bj flora Miller 
Irving during the 1970s. All letters cited herein with no locus can he 
found in the Whitney Family Papers, formerly in Mrs. Whitney's 
studio in Old Westbury, Long Island, but recently donated to the 
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 

B. H. Friedman, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: A Biography (Garden 
City, N.Y.: Doubleday, i9~8) Many facts were found in the Whittle) 
Family Papers and published verbatim in Friedman's biography. 

Daty Healy, "A History of the Whitney Museum of American Art, 
1930-54" (Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, i960). 

Juliana Force and American Art: A Memorial Exhibition, September 
14 -October jo, 1949, essays by Hermon More and Lloyd Goodrich, 
John Sloan, Guy Pene du Bois, Alexander Brook, and Forbes Watson, 
(New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1949). 

1. Henry McBride, "Hail and Farewell," New York Sun, April 24, 

2. John Sloan, in Juliana Force and American Art, pp. 35-36. 

3. Malvina Hoffman, quoted in B. H. Friedman, Gertrude Vander- 
bilt Whitney, p. 246. 

4. Letter, Eugene Speicher to the editor, New York Herald Tribune, 
April 20, 1942. 

5. Letter, Arthur B. Davies to Mrs. Whitney, April 10, 1907. 

6. "Objects of the Society," Article 1 of the By-Laws of the Society of 
Independent Artists, 1917. 

7. The four works were Floating Ice (by 1 9 1 6, exhibited as Winter on 
the River, the title that has been used ever since) by Ernest Lawson, 
Laughing Child by Robert Henri, Woman with Goose by George 
Luks, and Girl in Blue (now titled Revue) by Everett Shinn. 

8. Edith DeShazo, Everett Shinn, 187 6 -19 5 5: A Figure in His Time 
(New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1974), p. 65. 

9. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's personal papers also include 
minutes of the February 14, 1906, the March 16, 1906, and the 
December 1 1, 1906, meetings of the National Sculpture Society (Karl 
Bitter presiding), letters from the National Sculpture Society 1 xhibi- 
tion Committee (signed by Daniel Chester French, Chairman; 

Thomas Hastings, Herbert Adams; Solon Borglum; and Karl Bitter), 
and news clippings, See also fames M Dennis, Karl Bitter: Archi- 
tectural Sculptor 1867 ('/(> Madison, Milwaukee, and London: 

I nncrsiu ot \\ ISCOnsin Press, \^(<~ . pp. 24^. 4-. and footnotes. 

10. letter, Daniel ( hesler French to Mrs. Whitney, April 19, 1907- 

1 1. Dana H. Carroll, "Progress in the National Academy I \ 
liibitions," Arts and D« oration, \, no. 7 (1913), p- 22-. 

12. The other recipients were Ham Siernleld (1914 and I rnest 1 
Weihe (1919). 

1 >,. John Sloan, in Juliana Fort e and Amerit j>: Art, p. j6. 

14. Goodrich and More, in Juliana Force and American Art, p. 13. 

1 S- Interview with Mrs. Whitney, reported with variations in Ameri- 
can Art News, 1 s March 10, 1917); and the New York Herald, 
February 18, 191-; and partially quoted in Juliana Force and 
American Art, pp. is- 16; and Daty Healy, "History," pp. 4<->- 4~. 
I lelen Foster Burnett, |. Santord S.ilters, 1 . M. Gattle, Comm. 
J. Stuart Blackton, Otto H. Kahn, C. G. Charles, Paul G. Baum- 
garten, Gertrude V Whitney, and the Society of Friends of Young 
Artists offered prizes to these competitions. 

16. In May 1923 the Club was transferred to 10 West Eighth Street. 
adjacent to the Whitney Studio. During October 1925 the Club moved 
again, this"time to 14 West Eighth Street, while Number 10 was being 
renovated, and returning to the new galleries at 10 West Eighth during 
December r.92.7. 

17. Alexander Brook, in Juliana Force. and American Art, p. > 2. 

18. Letter, Arthur Lee to Mrs. Whitney, September 18, 190-. 

19. Letter, Hendrik C. Andersen to Mrs. Whitney, November 2-, 

20. Letter, Morgan Russell to Mrs. Whitney, April 1, 19 10. See also 
Gail Levin, Synchronism and American Color Abstraction, 1910- 
192$ (New York: George Braziller in association with the Whitney 
Museum of American Art. 19-8 . 

21. letter, Thomas Hart Benton to Juliana Force, late 1930s, Art- 
ists' Files, Whitney Museum of American Art. 

22. The firm of Delano and Aldrich built .1 townhouse at 121 East 
Seventieth Street in 1910, built the residence of Willard and Dorothv 
Whitney Straight at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Ninety-fourth 
Street during 191 ?- 1 s, restored the Bartow-Pell Mansion in 1914, and 
built Greenwich House (on Barrow Street between fourth and 
Blcccker Streets) in 191 -. 

23. Paul Chalfin had decorated the interior of Vizcaj a, the estate of 
James Deenng in Miami, Florida, and during 1919 -,9 was curator of 
Japanese an at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 19 •,<> he and Mrs. 
Whitney spent da\ s designing the installation of her one-woman 
exhibition of sculpture at Knoedler. 

24. Howard c ushingwasa frequent escort during Gertrude's 

debutante years, and they resumed their friendship in Paris during the 
1890s while he studied painting at the Academic Julian. C ushing 
nurtured Gertrude's interest in art during the late 1S9OS, a time when 
she was searching tor a direction in her own lite. In 1900 w hen she 
decided upon sculpture, he arranged for her to stud) modeling with 
1 lendnk (. . Andersen. 


25. Robert C hauler was an artist with whom Mrs. Whitney fre- 
quently attended art exhibitions. Chanler had painted murals in 
Stanford White's Colony Club at Thirtieth Street and Madison 
Avenue, and his nine screens painted with exotic tropical plants and 
birds attracted considerable attention at the 1913 Armory Show. 

!<■>. Letter, Maxfield Parrish to Mrs. Whitney, July 19, 1912, quoted in 
Coy Ludwig, Maxfield Parrish (New York: Watson-Guptill, 1973), 
p. 160. 

i". Ibid. 

28. Forbes Watson, in Juliana Force and American Art, p. 59. 

29. Mrs. Whitney quoted in the New York Herald Tribune, 
November 19, 1931. 

30. Lloyd Goodrich, "The Whitney's Battle for U.S. Art," Art News, 
53 (November 1954), pp. 70—71. 

Chapter II 
Painting, 1 900-1940 

1. See Joseph J. Kwiat, "Robert Henri and the Emerson-Whitman 
Tradition," PMLA, 71 (September 1956), pp. 617-36. Kwiat quotes 
Sloan, who said to the former in 1948: "Henri . . . was my father in 
Art. I got my Whitman through him. Whitman's love for all men, his 
beautiful attitude toward the physical, the absence of prudishness . . . 
all this represented a force of freedom. ... 1 liked what resulted from 
his descriptive catalogues of life. They helped to interest me in the 
details of life around me." 

2. Erwin Panofsky, "The History of Art as a Humanistic Discipline," 
in Meaning in the Visual Arts (New York: Anchor Books, 1955), p. 2, 
first published in The Meaning of the Humanities, ed. by T. M. 
Greene (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1938), pp. 91 - 
118. Panofsky gives a historical definition of human values and 
human limitations; in short, human values are what distinguish man 
from the beasts; human limitations are what distinguish man from 

3. The definition, the concept, and the philosophy as it is lived by 
humanists is not free from ambiguities and contradictions. For 
example, acceptance of human limitations also often means being 
tolerant of society's limitations, which because it has not yet 
eliminated economic and political injustices, does in practice deny the 
dignity of some of the population. 

4. See Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and 
Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), pp. 133- 36, 
regarding the changing definition of individual and individualism 
through the centuries; see pp. 121-24 for a brief description of the 
changing definition of humanity, including humanism. 

5. Charles H. Caffin, The Story of American Painting I New York: 
Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1907), pp. 258- 61. 

6. As of this writing I have not charted the relative frequencies of each 
term in each decade of the twentieth century. Clement Greenberg, in 
his essay "Modern and Post-Modern," Arts Magazine, 54 (February 
1980), pp. 64-66 (first presented as a lecture on October 31, 1979), is 
unconcerned with the entrance of the term "modernism" into art 

history, but sees it as roughly equivalent to "art for art's sake." 
Greenberg states (p. 65): "But underneath all the invocations, the 
explanations and the rationalizations, there was the 'simple' aspira- 
tion to quality, to aesthetic value and excellence for its own sake, as 
end in itself. Art for art's sake. Modernism settled in in painting with 
Impressionism, and with that, art for art's sake." Modernism, whether 
used to define a historical period, a style, a mannerism, or a world 
view, can be deeply complex depending upon which country is being 
investigated and who is to be believed concerning the definition. 
Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane deal with this complexity in 
their introductory essay, "The Name and Nature of Modernism," in 
Modernism, ed. by Bradbury and McFarlane (London: Penguin 
Books, 1976). The authors even suggest two modernisms, one arcane, 
private, and conservative, and the second experimental and progres- 
sive. In my discussion, modernism will be defined as it has come to be 
understood by American artists and critics, particularly those under 
the influence of Clement Greenberg, as a "concern with form," 
although "self-definition" has also been advanced by Greenberg. Sam 
Hunter and H. H. Arnason, both of whom have written influential 
textbooks, would include "experimentalism" in their definition. See 
Chapter IV, note 77. See also various articles in New Literary History 
which have discussed modernism. 

7. Give Bell, "Aesthetics and Post-Impressionism," in Art, first 
published in 1913 (New York: Capricorn Books, 1958), p. }8. 
Roberta Tarbell reminds me that all of the early twentieth-century 
sculptors referred to the art which was concerned with form as 

8. Ibid, pp. 38—39. 

9. Bradbury and McFarlane, Modernism, p. 25, have pointed out 
that: "One of the word's associations is with the coming of a new era 
of high aesthetic self-consciousness and non-representationalism, in 
which art turns from realism and humanistic representation towards 
style, technique, and spatial form in pursuit of a deeper penetration of 
life." The "pursuit of a deeper penetration of life," however, suggests 
expressionism, which, according to Bradbury and McFarlane, does 
not characterize the Anglo-American tradition of modernism. They 
quote Graham Hough, Image and Experience: Studies in a Literary 
Revolution (London, i960), p. 8: "Expressionism in art has Ger- 
manic connotations, and the literature we are considering is Anglo- 
American profoundly influenced by France. And Expressionism is a 
name for a kind of critical doctrine, a doctrine of personality and 
self-expression, that is precisely the one not held by our twentieth- 
century school." New York School Abstract Expressionism was 
indeed a form of Expressionism, recognized at the time as such, but 
later often discussed in terms of its formal qualities only. (See Chapter 
IV, "Painting, 1941 -1980." 

10. Milton W. Brown, American Painting from the Armor)' Show to 
the Depression (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1955), 
pp. 46-51. See also Milton W. Brown, The Story of the Armory Show 
(New York: Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1963). For a list of 
exhibitions at Stieglitz's "291," see Dorothy Norman, Alfred Stieglitz: 
An American Seer (New York: Random House, 1973), pp. 232- 33. 

1 1. Chase joined the group in 1902 when Twachtman died. See 
Patricia Hills, Turn-of-the-Century America: Paintings, Graphics, 
Photographs, 1890-1910 (New York: Whitney Museum of American 
Art, 1977), pp. 73-74- 

12. Written November 8, 1906, John Sloan's New York Scene, ed. by 
Bruce St. John (New York: Harper tk Row, 1965), p. 77. 



[3. See( hapter I, "Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitne) as Patron," b) 
Roberta K. rarbell. 

14. See Robert Henri, The Art Spirit: Notes, Articles, Fragment 
I etters and Talks to Students, Bearing on the < onceptand Technique 
of Picture Making, and the Study oj Art Generally, and on \ppn 
r/on, compiled b) Marger) Ryerson Philadelphia: |. B. Lippincott, 
[951), pp. [38,142. 

[5. Rockwell Kent, It's Me O Lord The Kutobiography of Rockwell 
Kent New York: Dodd, Mead, i^s ,p. 81, 

[6. Guj Penedu Bois, Artists Say the Silliest Things New York: 
American Artists Group and Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1941 , p. 81. 

[7. Du Bois, Artists s.n the Silliest Things, p. 82. 

18. John Sloan's New Y<nk Scene, p. (8. 

19. Ibid., p. 1 ). 

20. Ibid., p. ?4i). 

21. Sec Patricia I lilk, "John Sloan's Images of Working-Class 
Women: A I ase Study ot tlie Roles and Interrelationships of Politics, 
Personality and Patrons in the Development ot Sloan's Art, 1905- i"." 
Prospects, s [980), pp. 157—96. 

22. Bennard B. Perlman, The Immortal Eight: American Painting 
from Eakins to the Armory Show, 187 191; Westport, Conn.: 
North Light Publishers, [979), p. 205. 

23. Both Henri and Sloan were influenced by the Maratta Svstcm ot 
colors. Several references can be found in Sloan's diar) published in 
John Sloan's Hew York s ( ene. See also \\ illiam Innes Homer with the 
assistance ot Violet Organ, Robert Henri and His Circle, [Ithaca, 
N.Y.: Cornell Universit) Press, [969 . 

24. See Barbara C hnstie Kaiser, "1 dward I lopper: In Time, Out of 
lime" M.A. thesis. Hunter College, <. itv Universit) ot New York, 
1968), for a discussion of the theme of light in Hopper's paintings, 

25. Statement by Bernard karriol, p. ;. given to Lloyd Goodrich in 
[946 when he was preparing the Whitne) Museum Pioneers of 
Modern Art in America exhibition. Artists' Piles, Whitney Museum of 
American An. 

ir>. Norman, Alfred StieglitZ, pp. i'14- $5. 

27. See Robert Goldwater, Primitivism m Modem Art, rev. ed. New 
York: Vintage Books, 19(1"), pp. 89- 9s. 

28. Man Ray, Self-Portrait Boston: 1 itde, Brown, 19(1; t, p. 30. 

29. Reproduced in Nancy J. Rivard, "American Paintings at the 
Detroit Institute ot Arts," Antiques, 1 14 (November i9~Si, p. 10^4. 

^o. Morns Kantor's Two Figure Arrangement ot 192; (Whitne) 
Museum of American Art) is a more sober, splintered figure study 

}i. Interview In Patricia Hills with Raphael Soyer, December 1 1, 

32. See Alfred Werner, "Ghetto Graduates," The American Art 

Journal, \ November [973 , pp. 76- — , regarding the Educational 
Alliance An School. ( )ther important teaching institutions were 
Cooper Union in lower Manhattan and Pratt Institute 111 Brooklv n. 

; ',. Regarding C base's teaching at the school, see (Catherine Metcall 
Roof. The I ifeand Art 0/ William Merritt ( base, Hrst published in 
[917 (New York: Hacker An Books, [975 , p. 1-1. Regarding Henri's 

ng there, see Perlman, The Immortal I ight, pp. 87 v 5. and 
p. [89. I or the dates ot Miller's tenure at the New York School ol 

see Lincoln Rothschild, To Keep Art \live <f Kenneth 

Hayes Miller, American Paint ( ranbury, N.J 

sociated Universit) Presses, 1974), p. 23. 

'■,4. Kent. It's Me ( ) / ord, p. 8;. 

55. Lawrence ( ampbell, "Foreword," in The Hundredth Annit 
sary I xhibition 0/ Paintings and Sculptures by 100 Art ited 

with the Art Students I eague of Xeu York, New York: Kennedy 
Galleries, 1975 , p. 16. Seep. 168 for dates of Miller's teaching at the 


See Rothschild, ToKeep \rt Alive, pp. 57-65, regarding 

students and followers. 

;-. Statement by Lloyd Goodrich in Kenneth Hayes Wilier, 
catalogue of the memorial exhibition sponsored by the An Students 
League held in the galleries ot the National Academ) ot 1 >csign. 
September 1 ; t Ktohcr [1,1953. 

38. Thomas Han Benton was also concerned with the tradition ot 
composition in Western painting; see Mark Roskill, "Jackson Pollock, 
Thomas Plan Benton, and c ubism: A Note." Arts Magazine, \ ; 
March [979), p. 144. 

59. C ulled from //v Hundredth Anniversary I xhibition of the Art 
Students I eague. 

40. See Roberta K. Tarbell, Peggy Bacon: Personalities Mid / 

Washington, D.C .: National C ollectionof Fine Arts, Smithsonian 
Institution, [975), pp. 61-62. 

41. Brown, American Painting from the Armory Show to the 
Depression, pp. 1 ^4- 59. 

42. See Alfred Werner, "Pascin's American Years." The American Art 
Journal, 4 (Spring [972 . pp. 87- 101. 

43. Interview b) Patricia Hills vrith Raphael Soyer; December 1 1, 

44. Brown, American Painting from the Armory Show to the 

Depression, p. 1 ^4. 

45. See Matthew Baigell, TheAmerii Kmerican Paintin 

jos (New York: Praeger, 1974 , and David Shapiro, Social 
Realism: Art as .1 Weapon New Yirk. Frederick I'ngar, [973 . Baigell 
(p. 18) maintains that "the first clear evidence of the movement known 
as the Amerit an S< ene appeared during the exhibition season ot 
19 u - 52," in part the result of "an explosive hostilitv to European 
modernism" during the [930- ;i exhibition season. However, I am 
extending the rime frame to include those paintings ot the American 
scene done in the i9iosas well. Baigell includes Social Realism in his 
L.itcuorv ot American S^ciic. whereas Shapiro treats Social Realism as 
a separate category, which is my own approach. Regionalism is the 
term otten given to small tow n or rural American Scene painting, as 
opposed to the urban American Scene painting ot anists such as 

46. Du Bois, Artists Say the Silliest Ihings. p. [28 

4-. See 1 awrence Alloway, "Art," The Nation, April 14. i< 
pp. 412-13. 

4N. See "Jack Dempsey," < 'urrent Biography, << (Februar) 

p. 1;. 


49- Edward Alden Jewell, in the New York Times, November 4, 
1428, section 8, p. 12, a reference noted in Laurence E. Schmeckebier, 
John Steuart ( urry's Pageant of America New York: American 
ArtistsGroup, 1943), p. 41. Schmeckebier also notes, p. 42, that in the 
fall of 1928, Curry "became a member of the Whitney Studio Club of 
New York and was granted a weekly stipend of $50 by Mrs. Harry 
Payne Whitney to support him tor the next two years." 

50. Thomas Craven, Modern Art: The Men, The Movements, The 
Meaning (New r York: Simon and Schuster, 1934), p. 271. The 
regionalist Grant Wood, who came closest to emulating Art Deco 
mannerisms (although his style has clear affinities to the Neue 
Sachlichkeit German painter Otto Dix) did not move in the direction 
of naturalism but maintained a schematic decorative style which 
included diminishing repetitive forms, clear outlines, and simplifica- 
tion and regularization of detail— traits to which Craven was 

51. Ibid, p. 272. 

52. Matthew Baigell and Allen Kaufman, "Missouri Murals: 
Another Look at Benton, " Art Journal, 36 (Summer 1977), 
pp. 314-21. 

53. Marlene Park and Gerald E. Markowitz, Xcic Deal for Art: The 
Government Art Projects of the 19 ?os with Examples fr<»n New York 
City & State (Hamilton, N.Y: Gallery Association of New York State, 

1977), P- '■ 

54. Norman Barr, "Statement," in New York City WPA Art, 
exhibition catalogue (New York: Parsons School of Design, 1977), 
p. xiii. 

55. The information here and in the following paragraphs regarding 
the projects is drawn from Park and Markowitz, New Deal for Art, 
pp. xii- xiii, 1-6. See also Francis V. O'Connor, ed., Art for the 
Millio>is: Essays from the 29 yos by Artists and Administrators of the 
WPA Federal Art Project (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic- 
Society, 1973), and Richard D. McKmzie, The New Deal for Artists 
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1973). 

>6. Baigell, The American Scene, p. 46. 

57. See Gerald M. Monroe, "Art Front," Archives of American Art 
Journal, 13, no. 3 (1973), pp. l 3~ 1 9- A complete set of Art Front is on 
microfilm at the Archives of American Art. 

58. "Art: U.S. Scene," Time, December 24, 1934, p. 24. 

59. Moses Soyer, "Review- of Whitney Biennial," Art Front, January 
[935. In the same issue Soyer discussed his own painting: "The 
absence of paintings dealing with the working class should not be 
taken as a lack of class-consciousness on the part of Moses Soyer but 
rather as an uncertainty in his own powers, an almost unconscious 
reluctance to tackle such a serious theme." 

60. Ibid. 

61. Art Front, April 19^6. 

62. Interview by Patricia Hill • with Raphael Soyer, December 1 1, 
1979. The Shahn photograph titled The Boivery, Neiv York City of 
about 1936 is reproduced in The Photographic Eye of Ben Shahn, ed. 
by Davis Pratt (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1975), 
p. 22. 

6 ?. See "Paul Cadmus" in Current Biography, } (July 1942), p. 124. 
In 1934 Cadmus's painting The Fleet's In had stirred a similar 
controversy with the Navy department. 

64. Paul Cadmus, "Credo," in exhibition catalogue, Midtown 
Galleries, New York, 1937. 

65. Louis Lozowick, Modern Russian Art (New York: Societe 
Anonyme, Museum of Modern Art, 1925), p. 30. I am grateful to 
Susan F. Cohen for bringing this quotation to my attention. 

66. David and Cecile Shapiro, "Abstract Expressionism: The Politics 
of Apolitical Painting," Prospects, ', 1977), p. 209, have defined 
Social Realism as "programmatically critical of capitalism. Its stated 
aim, in fact, is to serve as an instrument in the social change that will 
disestablish capitalism." 

67. Shapiro, Social Realism: Art as a Weapon, p. 28, note 1, makes 
the distinction clear between Social Realism and Socialist Realism: 
"Social Realism and Socialist Realism are different from each other. 
Social Realism, opposed to the ruling class and its mores, predomi- 
nantly selects as its subject matter the negative aspects of life under 
capitalism: Labor conflicts, poverty, the greediness of capitalists, the 
nobility of long-suffering workers. Socialist Realism, as it has 
developed in the Soviet Union, supports the ruling class and the form 
of government. It selects as its subject matter the positive aspects of life 
under socialism: happy, cooperating workers, the beauty ot factory 
and countryside, well-fed, healthy children, and so on. Mexican Social 
Realism, somewhere between these two, shows both the struggle of 
the people to gain control of the means of production and some of the 
fruits of that power." 

68. Lynchings of black Americans and lynching parties in the South 
were a reality as well as the subject for artists during the 1930s. 
Seymour Lipton and Isamu Noguchi did sculptures on the theme; 
Arnold Blanch, John Steuart Curry, Paul Cadmus, and Louis 
Lozowick did paintings, drawings, and prints. Oliver W. Larkin, in 
Art and Life in America, revised and enlarged ed. (New York: Holt, 
Rinehart and Winston, i960), p. 431, noted Herman Baron's remark 
that the social artist "seemed to concentrate on three themes: 
policemen beating strikers, lynchings, and bloated capitalists." 

69. See Francis Russell, Tragedy in Dedhant: The Story of the 
Sacco-Vanzetti Case (London: Longmans, Green and co., 1962). 

70. Quoted in ibid., p. }88. 

-1. A notable exception is Philip Evergood's American Tragedy of 
19 J7 (private collection). See Patricia Hills, "Philip Evergood's 
'American Tragedy"; The Poetics of Ugliness, the Politics of Anger," 
Arts Magazine, 54 (February 1980), pp. 138-42. 

~2. Transcript 2, p. 52, of interview with Philip Evergood by John 
I. H. Baur, then preparing his catalogue for the Philip Evergood 
exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, i960. 

73. See Lloyd Goodrich, Edwin Dickinson (New York: Whitney 
Museum of American Art, 1965). 

74. Quoted in Jeffrey Wechsler, Surrealism and American Art, 
1931—1947 (New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University, 19-6), p. 39, 
from O. Louis Guglielmi, "I Hope To Sing Again," Magazine of Art, 
May 1944, pp. 175-^6. 

75. Grace Clement, "New Content— New Form," Art Front, March 
1936, p. 9. 

76. I am grateful to Amy Lighthill for informing me that Blume did 
not give titles to his paintings; his dealer did, but Blume seems not to 
have objected. Blume's most political painting was his depiction of 
Mussolini's Italy in The Eternal City of 1934- 37, shown in the 
Whitney Museum Annual of 1940 and subsequently acquired by the 
Museum of Modern Art in 1942. 



77. The significance of the number "29" is unclear. ( )ne searches the 
newspapers for relevant items. Articles with the dateline April 19, 
[937, reported in the April \0NewY0rk limes, chronicle that: 1 the 

air attack was now known to have been ordered by ( loering, who 
"took the initiative in ordering that ( iuernica be bombed and 
destroyed. He intended to give .1 practical demonstration of what air 
warfare can achieve and vindicate some of his strategical and tactical 
conceptions;" and 2.) there were food shortages in Bilbao, a city near 

78. Observed by Baur, in Lloyd Goodrich and John I. H. Baur, 
American Art of ( Htr ( entury (New York: Praeger, 1961 1, p. 1 ^ -, . 

79. Regarding the disillusionment, some artists and critics maintain 
that the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939 was responsible for destroying the 
optimism in the art community about the Soviet Union and about the 
ideology of communism. Others, however, maintain that the negative 
reaction was short lived, ending when Hitler invaded Russia. A 
decisive split in the art community came in April 1940 in reaction to 
the Soviet Union's invasion of Finland, when a number of members of 
the American Artists Congress resigned in protest against the 
leadership of the Congress who refused to condemn the Soviet Union. 
Peyton Boswell, Jr., of Art Digest accused the leadership of being 
Stalinists (May 1, 1940 issue), while the Daily Worker called the 
break-away opposition Trotskyites. As of this writing no one has 
really wanted to untangle the political controversies, nor has the 
influence of Trotsky and his followers on the art of the 1940s and early 
1950s been satisfactorily investigated. Such controversies are, how- 
ever, but one aspect of the total picture. 

Chapter III 
Sculpture, 1900-1940 

1. William Paley's Natural Theology was subtitled "Evidences of the 
Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from the Appearance 
of Nature" and was published in London in 1802. 

2. B. H. Friedman's biography, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (Gar- 
den City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1978), provides chronological material on 
Mrs. Whitney's development as a sculptor; no definitive critical study 
of her art has been written. The catalogue Memorial Exhibition. 
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (New York: Whitney Museum of 
American Art, 1943) lists and illustrates many of her sculptures. 

3. The other sculptors included in the Exhibition of Independent 
Artists, held from April 1 to i~, 1910, were the animalier Albert 
Humphreys, James F.arle Fraser, Robert Aitken, Gutzon Borglum, 
Louis Potter, and Dorothy Rice. See The Fiftieth Anniversary of the 
Exhibition of Independent Artists in 19/0 (Wilmington: Delaware An 
Center, i960). 

4. The monumental marble fountain, commissioned by the Arlington 
Hotel in Washington, D.C., was given to McGill University, Montreal, 
Canada, in 1931, and it is still in situ. A bronze replica is located in 
Lima, Peru, and bronze casts of individual caryatid figures can be 
found in a private collection. New York, at Brookgreen Gardens, 
South Carolina, and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See Beatrice 
Gilman Proske, Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture (Brookgreen ( lar- 
dens, 1968), pp. 206- 208; and Albert TenEyck Gardner, American 
Sculpture (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1965), p. 1 *o. 

5. See Guy Pene du Bois, "Mrs. Whitney's Journey in Art." Interna- 
tional Studio, 76 (January 192}), pp. 351— S4- Mrs. Whitney's bronze 
studies of soldiers were exhibited at the Whitney Studio in 191 9- 

6. |o I )avidson Papers, Manuscripi 1 >n ision of tin- 1 ibrai ■ 
Congress, Washington, D.< ; quoted in Dorothy V. [aylor,"Ja 
Davidson: the Paris Peace 1 onference Busts of June 191 >/' M. \ 
thesis. University of Delaware, Newark, [9 

-. I 1 rst draft of Between Sittings subsequently published by Dial 
Press, 1 us 1 . |o I ).i\ idson Papers, I ibrary ol <• ongress. 

8. Interview by B. 1 1. 1 riedman h ith Mrs. Michael Brenner, filed with 
Whitney 1 amily Papers, and mentioned in I riedman, Gertrude 
Vanderbilt Whitney, p. 265. See also ( atherine [until, "Michael 

Brenner (1885-1969)," in Arant-darde I'ainthtg & Sculpture in 
America 1910- is (Wilmington: Delaware \rt Museum and the 
University of Delaware, 19^5), pp. 36-37. 

9. R. G. Mclntyre, "The Broad Vision of Abastcnia Eberle," Arts and 
Decoration, 3 (August 1913), p. [36. 

10. Casts of The Windy Doorstep are located at Brookgreen Gardens 
(see Proske, Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture, pp. 152- 54), Baltimore 
Museum of An, Newark Museum, Carnegie Institute, and Worcester 
Art Museum. 

11. Also titled Girl Skating, R oiler Skater, and Girl u ith Roller Skate. 
A signed and dated cast is in the Metropolitan Museum of An 
(acquired 1909; see Gardner, American Sculpture, p. 136), and 
another of the eight casts is owned by the Rhode Island School of 

12. The first version of The Bomb Thrower was exhibited at the 
Berlin Photographic Co., New York, in 191 2, under the title Head — 
Pasquale. Of three casts of the reworked version, one was purchased 
by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1922 (Gardner, American 
Sculpture, p. 133). The third cast is at the Worcester Art Museum. 

13. William C. Agee and George Heard Hamilton, Raymond 
Duchamp-Villon (New York: Walker and Co., 1967), pp. 56-60, 

14. Gerald Nordland, Gaston Eacbaise: The Man and His Work 
(New York: George Braziller, 1974), fig. 86. Several of Lachaise's 
other early statuettes are illustrated in figs. 2- 5, 4-, and 5 j. 

15. Ibid., pp. 82-95. 

16. William H. Gerdts, The Great American Nude (New York: 
Praeger, 1974), p. 185. 

17. A biography, critical analysis of paintings and sculptures, and 
catalogue raisonne of Robus's sculpture, written by the author, is 
forthcoming from the Smithsonian Institution Press, Spring 1980. 

18. Henry McBride, "Modern Art," Dial, 78 June 192s , p n - s 

19. John I. H. Baur, The Sculpture and Drawings of I lie Xadchnan. 
1882-1946 (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, [975 . 
pis. 12 and 13; and Lincoln Kirstein, / lie Nadelman New York: 

Eakins Press, 19-? ', cat. nos. 81 and 82, and pi. ?8. 

20. Elie Nadelman, "Notes for a Catalogue," ( annra Work, no. ) 1 
(October 1910), p. 41. 

11. Lincoln Kirstein, The Sculpture of Elie Nadelman New York: 

Museum ot Modern Art. 1948), p. 60; and Kirstein. Nadelman, i»-;. 
p. 19?. 

22. Sur la Plage was exhibited at Scott and low les ( . alien in New 
York in 191-. Umberto Boccioni, in his Technical Manifest) 
I uturist Sculpture, 1912, advocated a combination of materials in the 
construction of a sculptural whole. 


2-3- Kirstein, Nadelman, 1973, pp. 209- 11. 

24. Isamu Noguchi: A Sculptor's World (New York and Evanston: 
Harper & Row, 1968), p. 123. 

25. Two other bronze casts are in museum collections, the Brooklyn 
Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art. See Kirstein, Nadelman, 
1973, cat. nos. 120 (sculpture) and 114 (drawing). The larger marble 
Dancing Figure, also called Artemis, from Loew's estate (Parke- 
Bernet Sale No. 455, January 195 1) is in the Chrysler Museum at 
Norfolk, Virginia, gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. 

26. See Roberta K. Tarbell, "Direct Carving," in Vanguard American 
Sculpture 191 3-1939 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University, 
1979), pp. 45-66, for a fuller account of its inceprion, philosophy, and 
practitioners in Amenca. 

27. William Zorach, "Direct Sculpture," typed lecture notes, Feb- 
ruary 1930, Zorach Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian 
Institution, Washington, D.C., microfilm 59- 2: 1980 ff [original 
papers deposited in the Manuscript Division of the Library of 

28. William Zorach, Art Is My Life (Cleveland and New York: 
World Publishing Co., 1967), p. 66. 

29. "Reminiscences of William Zorach," typescript of interviews by 
Louis M. Starr, Oral History Collection, Columbia University, 1957, 

30. Zorach's copy has been deposited at the National Collection of 
Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Sheeler also 
photographed several of Zorach's early sculptures (see Figs. 86, 87). 

3 1 . John B. Flannagan, "The Image in the Rock," in The Sculpture of 
John B. Flannagan (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1942), p. 7. 

32. Zorach's late stone heads are catalogued in Roberta K. Tarbell, 
"Catalogue Raisonne of William Zorach's Carved Sculpture" (Ph.D. 
dissertation. University of Delaware, 1976), pp. 550-94. 

33. Jose de Creeft, "Statement on Sculpture," Seven Arts, 2, ed. 
Fernando Puma (New York: Doubleday, 1954); reprinted in Jules 
Campos, The Sculpture of Jose de Creeft (New York: Kennedy 
Graphics and Da Capo Press, 1972), p. 12. 

34. See Tarbell, "Direct Carving," pp. 57-58; and Tarbell, "Seymour 
Lipton's Carvings: A New Anthropology for Sculpture," Arts 
Magazine, 54 (October 1979), pp. 78-84. 

35. Seymour Lipton, "Sailor and Flood," manuscript written May 
23, 1979, collection of Roberta K. Tarbell. 

36. Seymour Lipton, notes prepared for a public interview, 1943, 
Archives of American Art, microfilm D-386, frame 19; and interviews 
by Roberta K. Tarbell with Seymour Lipton, May 23 and July 5, 1979. 

37. Interview by Roberta K. Tarbell with Concetta Scaravaglione, 
Kraushaar Galleries, New York, January 2, 1972. 

38. Laurent's early carvings are illustrated in Peter V. Moak, The 
Robert Laurent Memorial Exhibition (Durham: University of New 
Hampshire, 1972). 

39. Interview by Roberta K. Tarbell with Chaim Gross, November 


40. The Circus and the film Calder's Circus are on view at the 
Whitney Museum. Calder's Circus, ed. by Jean Lipman with Nancy 
Foote, (New York: E. P. Dutton and the Whitney Museum of 

American Art, 1972), provides visual, chronological, and text material 
on Calder and his relationship to the Circus. 

41. Garth Clark, A Century of Ceramics in the United States, 
1878-1978: A Study of its Development (New York: E. P. Dutton in 
association with the Everson Museum of Art, 1979), p. 94. Although 
Nadelman used the ceramic medium most frequently between 1930 
and 193 5 when he had his own kiln, he had made statuettes and relief 
sculptures in terra-cotta for Helena Rubinstein in 191 1 and 1912. 

42. Ibid., p. 314. 

43. Isamu Noguchi, "1931," A Sculptor's World, pp. 20- 21; and 
Joan M. Matter, "Interaction of American Sculptors with European 
Modernists: Alexander Calder and Isamu Noguchi," in Vanguard 
American Sculpture, p. 1 14. 

44. Letter, Hugo Robus to Lloyd Goodrich, June 21, 1959, Artists' 
Files, Whitney Museum of American Art. 

Chapter IV 
Painting, 1941-1980 

1. Interview by Patricia Hills with Jack Levine, September 22, 1979, 
and with Philip Pearlstein, December 1 1, 1979. 

2. The term "abstract expressionism" was first used by Alfred H. Barr 
in Cubism and Abstract Art (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 
1936), pp. 64- 72, to describe the work of the German Expressionists. 

3. See Milton W Brown, Jacob Lawrence (New York: Whitney 
Museum of American Art, 1974). 

4. Erik Barnouw, Tube of Plenty: The Evolution of American 
Television (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975), P- 109. 

5. Dore Ashton, The New York School: A Cultural Reckoning (New 
York: Viking Press, 1972), p. 175. See also Irving Sandler, "1946- 
1960," in The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (New York: 
Harry N. Abrams, 1974), p. 379-480. 

6. Mark Rothko, "The Romantics Were Prompted," Possibilities I 
(New York), Winter 1947/48, p. 84, reprinted in Herschel B. Chipp, 
Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists and Critics 
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), p. 548. For quota- 
tions by other artists of the time see Chipp as well as Maurice 
Tuchman, New York School: The First Generation (Greenwich, 
Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1965), and Barbara Rose, ed., 
Readings in American Art 1900-197; (New York: Holt, Rinehart 
and Winston, 1975). 

-. Rothko, "The Romantics Were Prompted," p. 84. 

8. Statement made by Robert Motherwell at a symposium held at the 
Museum of Modern Art, February 5, 1951, and subsequently printed 
in What Abstract Art Means to Me, Bulletin of The Museum of 
Modern Art (New York), 18, no. 3 (Spring 1951), reprinted in Chipp, 
Theories of Modern Art, p. 562. 

9. An investigation of the social conditions (the extra-aesthetic con- 
ditions) which gave rise to Abstract Expressionism continues to engage 
writers today. See Max Kozloff, "American Painting During the Cold 
War," Artforum, 11 (May 1973), pp. 43-54; Eve Cockcroft, 
"Abstract Expressionism, Weapon of the Cold War," Artforum, 12 



[June t974)»pp. $9 41; and David and < ecile Shapiro, "Abstraci 
Expressionism: The Politics oi Apolitical Painting," Prospects \n 
Annual of American Cultural Studies, •■, i977),pp. [75 -m- 

10. Quoted in John I. H. Baur, The New Decade New York; 
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1 •-> s > ,p. j8. 

11. Sec / //r, March 20, 1950, p. 82. Theothei artists were Franklin 
Boggs, Aleta l oriH'lms, 1 Ul/ut t ortor, 1 r.nik I )uncan, Jr., I lazard 
Durfee, Dean Kills, Stephen ( Ireene, [oseph 1 asker, 1 dward Melcarth, 
Kenneth Nack, Bernard Perlin, Alton Pickens, Hubert Raczka, 
HoTiore Sharrer, Theodore Stamos, Hedda Steme, Edward Stevens, 
Jr., Howard Warshaw. An exhibition ol the works selected opened at 
the Metropolitan Museum oi An, March 24. [950 with Robed 
Beverly Hale the curator, 

12. Quoted in Dickson Terry, "Siegfried Rcmhardt— Top Artist," 
St. I outs Post-Dispatch, February 7, [954, clipping in Artists' tiles, 
Whitney Museum oi American Art. 

1 3. Life, October 23, 19 so, p. 64. 

14. Quoted m Baur, The New Decade, p. ^8. 

[5. Information on Bloom and the Boston Expressionists is drawn 
from Boston I xpressionism: Hyman Bloom, Jack I evine, Karl 
Zerbe, essays bv Gillian Irvine, Stephen Prokopoff, and Elizabeth 
Sussman (Boston: Institute of( ontemporary Art. [979), including the 

reference to Pollock's She- Wolf. 

16. Other paintings of the late 1940s in the Whitnc\ Museum 
collection with religious themes include Weber's Adoration of the 
Moon ol 1944 Mid Ben /ion's / landwriting on the Wall of [948; Rico 
Lebrun's Wood of the Holy ( ross of [948 does not contain a figure, 
but the message is similar to Reinhardt's ( 'rucifixion. 

17. Quoted in Lloyd Goodrich, "Robert Vickrey," Art in America, 42 
(Winter [954), p. :v 

Wyeth's work, especially his most famous painting, < hristina's 
World of 1947 (The Museum of Modern An, New York), would fit in 
with the general theme of isolation. The model of Wyeth's painting, 
Christina Ohlson, had a real infirmity. But at a tune when human 
limitations were not |ust one aspect of man's nature, but elevated to a 
major theme in an, the museum public would interpret her physical 
deformity as a metaphor tor spiritual and emotional deficiencies. 

18. Quoted from "A taped interview between Henry Koerner and Dr. 
Paul A. Chew," in the catalogue for the Henry Koerner Retrospective 
I xhibition (Greenshurg, Pa.: Westmoreland Count) Museum of An, 
1973 .In the last sentence, Koerner could have been describing the 
painting Peace, II by George Grosz. 

1 9. Quotations from Transcript 2, pp. 71—72, of interview with 
Philip Evergood by John I. H. Baur, i960, Amsts' Files. \\ hitney 
Museum of American Art. 

20. Baur, in Lloyd Goodrich and John I. H. Baur, American Art of 
Our ( 'entury New York; Frederick A. Praeger, 196] , p. [65. 

11. The Editor [Jean Lipman], "Foreword . . . Americans with a 
Future," Art in America, 41 (Winter 19^4), p. 10. Jean Lipman 
informs me that the New Talent sur\e\ was dropped after [96 ; 
because the art being produced was too diversified tor a panel to come 
to a consensus. 

22. The Fortune articles, running in the issues ol September [946 and 
December 19s s, were noted by Leo Steinberg in a lecture at the 
Museum of Modern An. March [968. See also "Other ( riteria," in 

( )thet < riteria < onfrontations with Twentieths entury Art New 
Y01 k 1 Moid University Pn ss. 1972 , pp, 5 . 

n. Estimatedb) |osephHirsch in his letter of May 10, i960, to Lloyd 
Goodrich. I am gi Mr. Hirsch for giving me copies of his 

correspondence with 1 loyd Goodrich. 

14. Letter from I loyd ( loodrich to foseph I lirsch, May 9, 1960. In an 
ankle. "Form ami Image," Art in America, 48, no. 1 i960;, p. 21, 
( Goodrich confessed: "In our present-day concern with advanced 

trends, we are apt to torget that representational art is still very much 
alive, and has main exponents. - . . Non-academic creative repre- 
sentational art. which belongs toa tradition older than the Academy's, 
has shared in the plastic discoveries of our period. Fully conscious of 
plastic \ alues, it nevertheless believes that there need be no more 
conflict between them and representational values than there was in 
the Renaissance. Its exponents today are in .1 difficult position: a 
minority, attacking some of the most complex pictorial problems, in 
the face of relative indifference or opposition from influential critics, 
museums and powers-that-be." Goodrich's concluding remarks have 
relevance today: "It the history of past successive schools has any 
bearing on the present situation, the current predominance of abstract 
art is not necessarily permanent. I sav predominance: abstraci .\n will 
of course continue to be widely practiced, and will produce its vital 
mutations and inventions. But there are increasing signs of other 
tendencies making themselves felt — some as outgrow ths 1 if abstrac- 
tion, some as reactions from it. What further forms they will take, who 
can predict? We can be sure of only one thing: they will not be what we 

25. The most recent thorough anal v sis of de Kooning's Woman series 
is E. A. Carmean, Jr., "Willem de Kooning: The Women." in T. V 
Canncm, Jr., and Eliza E. Rathbone with Thomas B. Hess. American 
Art at Mid-i. entury: The Subjects 0/ the Artist Washington. D.t .: 
National Gallery of An, 1978). See also Thomas B. I less. "De 
Kooning Paints a Picture," Art News, u March [953), pp. 19- J2, 
64-67; Leo Steinberg, "The Month in Review," Arts Magazine ?o 
(November 1955), pp. 46-48; Sally Yard, "Willem de Kooning's 
Women," Arts Magazine, s ; November [978 , pp. 96- 101, as well 
as Irving Sandler, The Triumph of Abstract Expressionism New 
York: Praeger, 1970), p. 133 >7- 

26. Quoted in Cindy Nemser, "Grace 1 lartigan: Abstract Artist, 
c oncrete Woman," Vis., ; March 1975 .p. ;;. 

--. Quoted in Thomas B. Hess, Willem de Kooning New York: 

Museum of Modern Art, [969), p. 149 excerpts from an interview 
with David Sylvester for the BBC', reprinted from / ocation, 1 [Spring 

18. Ashton, The New York School, p. [78, has noted the preoccupa- 
tion with "situations." bv the I uropean existentialist w titers as well as 
artists and critics of the period: "1 ouis I inkelstein, himself a painter 
and friend of de Kooning, w rote of him in the t )ctober 1 95 issu 
the Magazine of Art that 'instead of painting objects he paints 
situations." Such ■situations' were understood bv most painters of that 
period to be unstable, difficult to define, fraught with imperceptible 
hazards, and in constant danger of being unsituated." See also 
Sandler. "194'' i>k>c." The Hirshhom Museum and Sculpture 
Garden, p. 4 ;<>: " I he gesture painters considered painting to be an 
existential process, an unpremeditated 'situation' tot thev often used 
words borrowed from the terminology ol I xistentialism in which a 
creatively 'committed' amst 'encountered' images of 'authentic' 


29. De Kooning must have considered it important to make a record 
of the progress of process of the first painting Woman I, 19 50- 5 2 
(The Museum of Modern Art), because he permitted Rudolf 
Burckhardt and Walter Auerbach to make six photographs of the 
painting in its stages of development from 1950 to 1952. SeeCarmean, 
"Willem de Kooning: The Women," pp. 158- 59. Of Woman I, de 
Kooning said, "I didn't work on it with the idea of perfection, but to 
see how far one could go . . .," quoted in Hess, Willem de Kooning, 
1969, p. 149. 

In an interview with the author on December 1 1 , 1 979, Philip 
Pearlstein said that he was reacting to this very quality in de Kooning's 
work, and that although he admired de Kooning, he, Pearlstein, did 
not want to leave the traces of the search. 

The emphasis placed on experimentation and on art as process 
rather than art as product was also the legacy from the WPA years. 
Francis V. O'Connor, in his "Introduction," to Art for the Millions: 
Essays from the 1930s by Artists and Administrators of the WPA 
Federal Art Project, (Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 
1973), p. 17, has pointed out the debt of Holger Cahill, National 
Director of the WPA, to John Dewey: "Along with seeing art as a 
symbol of human life and solidarity, Dewey also saw it primarily as a 
process and only secondarily as a product. Masterpieces are not, 
therefore, the central goal of the artistic process and formal qualities 
are subordinate to human utility." O'Connor refers to Bertram 
Morns, "Dewey's Aesthetics: The Tragic Encounter with Nature," 
Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 30 (Winter 1971), p. 193. 

30. Quoted in Nemser, "Grace Hartigan," p. 33. 

31. Women's rituals were to become major themes for women artists 
in the 1970s. Muriel Magenta's film Bride, shown October 1978 at the 
University Galleries of the University of Southern California, was 
inspired by Hartigan's painting. 

3 2. Irving Sandler, The New York School: The Painters and Sculptors 
of the Fifties (New York: Harper &C Row, 1978), p. 2. Sandler is here 
practicing "consensus art history," which is explained in his article 
"The History of Contemporary Art: A Contradiction in Terms?" Art 
Criticism, 1 (Spring 1979), pp. 42- 54. Regarding Hofmann's teach- 
ing, see Irving Sandler, "Hans Hofmann: The Pedagogical Master," 
Art in America (May/June 1973), pp. 48- 5 5, and Cynthia Goodman, 
"Hans Hofmann as a Teacher," Arts Magazine, 55 (April 1979) 
pp. 120-125. 

33. Sandler, The New York School, p. 125. 

34. Betty Turnbull, "David Park: Unyielding Humanist," in David 
Park (Newport Beach, Calif.: Newport Harbor Art Museum). 
Clyfford Still taught at the C.S.F.A. from 1946 to 1950; Rothko, 
during the summers of 1947 and 1949. 

35. Quoted in Alfred Frankenstein, "Northern California," Art in 
America, 42 (Winter 1954), p. 49. 

36. See statement by David Park in David Park: Recent Painting 
(New York: Staempfli Gallery, 1959). 

37. See Terry St. John, "Introduction," Elmer Bischoff: Figurative 
Paintings 19 57 -197 2 (Oakland, Calif.: Oakland Museum, 1975), 
pp. 5-8. 

38. Artist's statement for Elmer Bischoff (San Francisco, Calif.: 
California School of Fine Arts, 1956). 

39. Interview with Gail R. Scott, in New Paintings by Richard 
Dtebenkorn (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 

1969), p. 6, as quoted in Gerald Nordland, "The Figurative Works of 
Richard Diebenkorn," Richard Dtebenkorn: Paintings and Draw- 
ings, 7943-/976 (Buffalo, N.Y.: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1976), 
p. 26. 

40. Sandler, The New York School, pp. 52 and 55, has pointed out 
that several critics and artists wrote between 1954 and 1956 about the 
affinities of French Impressionism with certain trends in Abstract 
Expressionism; those critics and artists include Sam Hunter, Robert 
Rosenblum, Clement Greenberg, Louis Finkelstein, and Elaine de 

41. A human figure is a sign, and no matter how abstracted, once 
recognized, the painting takes on a content not acknowledged in the 
precognition state, which would suggest that content (like beauty) is in 
the eye of the beholder. At this same time, Jasper Johns, with his 
white-on-white targets and numbers, was dealing with the same 
issues. See Lawrence Alloway, American Pop Art (New York: Collier 
Books in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art, 
1974). PP- 66-71. 

42. 'Marcel Duchamp, "The Creative Art" (from a paper presented to 
the Convention of the American Federation of Arts, Houston, April 
1957), reprinted in The New Art, ed. by Gregory Battcock (New 
York: E. P. Dutton, 1966), p. 25-26, also quoted in Alloway, 
American Pop Art, p. 66. Other paintings in the Whitney Museum 
collection in which the figural image is almost unreadable include 
Robert Goodnough's Pink Reclining Nude of 1959, Carl Holty's 
Bathers of 1950, Charles Cajori's Three Figures of 1962-63, and 
Seong Moy's Susanna and the Elders of 1956. 

43. Interview by Patricia Hills with Herbert Katzman, December 10, 

44. Meyer Schapiro, "On the Humanity of Abstract Painting," 
reprinted in Modern Art: 19th and zoth Centuries: Selected Papers 
(New York: George Braziller, 1978), p. 228. Ortega y Gasset, in his 
influential essay "The Dehumanization of Art," first published in 
1948, argued that the goal of modern art was becoming the 
elimination of the human elements. 

45. Schapiro, "On the Humanity of Abstract Painting," p. 229. 

46. The American sculptors were: Leonard Baskin, Cosmo Campoli, 
Theodore J. Roszak, and H. C. Westermann. The European artists 
were Karel Appel, Kenneth Armitage, Francis Bacon, Reg Butler, 
Cesar, Jean Dubuffet, Alberto Giacometti, Eduardo Paolozzi, Ger- 
maine Richier, and Fritz Wotruba. All the figurative artists, however, 
do not seem to fit comfortably into Selz's thesis, such as de Kooning, 
Diebenkorn, and Oliveira. 

47. Paul Tillich, "A Prefatory Note," in Peter Selz, New Images of 
Man (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1959), p. 9. 

48. Ibid. 

49. Ibid., p. 10. 

50. Selz, New Images of Man, p. 1 1. 

51. Manny Farber, "New Images of (Ugh) Man," Art News, 58 
(October 1959), p. 39. Philip Pearlstein, interview by Patricia Hills, 
December 11, 1979, referred to it as "the Buchenwald show." 

5 2. Fairfield Porter, "New Images of Man," The Nation, October 24, 
1959, reprinted in Fairfield Porter: Art in Its Own Terms, Selected 
Criticism 19? 5-7975, ed. by Rackstraw Downes (New York: Tap- 
linger Publishing Co., 1979), p. 59. 

53. Ibid., p. 61. 



54. ( lement Greenberg, "Abstraa An," The Nation, April 1 \. 1944, 
p. 451, also quoted in Barr) Schwartz, TheNeu Humanism: Art in a 
Time of Change New York: Praegcr, 1974), p 18 Schwartz's book 
analyzes the new-image-ol -man painting in terms of what he calls the 
New I lumanism. Although this author has man) disagreements with 
Schwartz's various theses, it is the onl) hunk to address the issue 1 il 
content in the new image oi manpainrmg. Crcenhcrg's essay is in part 
about the inadequacy ol naturalism: " Ibda) we know thai the 
question what a corporeal object is can be answered in mam different 
ways, depending on the context, and that appearance is only one 
context among mam, and perhaps one ol the less important ones. To 
give the appearance ol an object or a scene at a single moment in rime 
is to shut out reference to too main ol the Other contexts in which it 
simultaneously exists." 

55. Kenneth Clark, "The Blot and the Diagram," Encounter, 20 
(January 1963), p. 36, partly quoted in Schwartz, The Hew 
Humanism, p. 52. 

56. Interview by Patricia Hills w 1 1 li 1 eon Golub, September 12, 1979. 

57. See above, p. 1 16. 

58. See Schwartz, The New Humanism. Schwartz is in many ways 
uncritical of the new-image-of-man painters and does not refer to 
them as anti-democratic Schwartz has a strong bias toward 
philosophical anarchism, a characteristic ot main cultural critics of 
the late 1960s, e.g., Schwartz states, p. 20: "Today's Humanist is 

without dogma, without an encompassing ideology Although the 

Humanist may draw upon Social Realist art, he upholds human value 
against both the ideological collective and the corporate state. Still the 
absence ot ideology in Humanist art does not imply any diminution of 
the demand for social change. However, the social change 
envisioned — divorced from imposed labels — is simply a demand that 
people be able to be free, and live lives that are healthy, satisfying, and 
free of manipulation." 

59. John Canaday, "Welcome Variety," New York Times, November 
25, 1962, section 2, p. 25. 

60. The January /February 1969 issue of Art in America was devoted 
to the theme of crisis, violence, and reform. See particularly Dore 
Ashton, "Response to Crisis in American Art," pp. 24- 33, and 
Charlotte Willard, "Violence and Art," pp. 36—47, Main "I lappen- 
ings" in the 1960s dealt with the theme of violence, particularly those 
of the Guerilla Art Action Croup. See also Allan Kaprow. As 
semblage, Environments, and Happenings (New York: Harrj N. 
Abrams, 1966). 

61. Konrad Lorenz's theories, explicated 111 ( )n Aggression , trans, by 
Marjorie Kerr Wilson (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1966), 
were both promoted and attacked. 

62. See Therese Schwartz, "The Politicalization ot the Avant ( larde," 

Art m America, s9 (November/December [97] , pp. 96- 105. Re- 
garding the radical An Workers' Coalition, see Lucy Lippard "The Art 
Workers Coalition," Stutlm International, 1S0 (November 1970), 
reprinted in Gregory Battcock, ed., Idea Art: A ( ritical Anthology 
(New York: E. P. Dutton, 1973), pp. 102- 1 j. 

63. See Schwartz, The New Humanism, particular!) section on 

"Political Humanism," pp. 94- 1 14. In the mid-1960s Jacob I andau, 
in his lithographic I he Holocaust Suite, and M.iuncio 1 asansky, in 
his Vic/ Drawings, made reference to World War II. Other artists, 
working out ot a sensibility ot an earlier generation, would include 
Joseph Hirsch, Robert Gwathmey, and Chaim Koppelman. I eon 

( n d nil .it the time made moving but more universalizing statements 

than the others listed in the text and here; he has since muucl toward 
more literal images in his Mercenary paintings. 

64. Quoted in |ohn A. \\ illiams, "Introduction." in M. Bunch 

Washington, //v Ait of Roinare Harden: I he Prevalence of Ritual 

New Viik; Harrj N. Abrams, 19-2 , p. 9. 
i.v Ibid. 

66. Quoted in Jeanne Sicgcl, "W In Spiral-" Art News September 
[966 . p. 4>i \bstract artist Norman Lewis, p. 49. stated that 
"Political and social aspects should not be the primary concern; 
esthetic ideas should have preference." In response to the exhibition 

{fro American Artists: New York and Boston, Hilton Kramer wrote 
three artit les questioning the comparability ot aesthetics and politics 
NewYork Times, Ma) 22, 1970, p. 36; May }i, 1970, section 2, 
p. 1-; and June 7, 19-0, section 2, p. 19 Edmund B. Gaitherand 
Benny Andrews responded to Kramer in the New York Times, June 
21, 19-0, section 2, pp. 21- 22. See Walter Byron Young, "Black 
American Painters and the C i\ il Rights Movement: A Study of 
Relationships, 1955 1970" (D. Ed. dissertation, Pennsylvania State 
University, 1972). 

67. Quoted in Elton C . Fax, Seventeen Black Artists (New York: 
Dodd, Mead, 19-1 , p. 78, quoted in Young, "Black American 
Painters," p. 99. 

68. An American group, the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the 
Abolition of Slavery, the Relict ot I tee Negroes Unlawfully Held in 
Bondage, and for Improving the Condition of the African Race, 

published the diagrams in The American Museum in 1789; see rig. 31 
in Ellwood Parry, The Image <>/ the Indian and the Black Wan in 
American Art. i^yo-iyoo (New York: George Braziller, 19-41, p. 46. 

69. Quoted in "Afro-American Art: Special Issue." The Art Gallery 
Magazine, 13 (April 19-0), p. 52, as quoted m Young, "Black 
American Painters," p. 1 ?2. 

70. Young, "Black American Painters," p. 14s, summarizing Larry 
Neal, "Any Day Now: Black Art and Black I iberation," Ebony 
(August 1969). 

-1. SeeAlloway, American Pop Art, p. 107, for the visual source ol 

Warhol's image. See also John t oplans, And} Warhol New York: 
New York Graphic Society, n.d.). 

-2. See Hilton Kramer, Richard Lindnei Boston: New York Graphic 

Society, 1975), p. 30. See also Dore Ashton. Richard I indue New 
York: Harry N. Abrams, 1969), p. 41, regarding the influence of the 
Bauhaus theater, particularl) the work ot t Var Schlemmer, on his 


_ 3- Joanna Frueh, "Chicago's Emotional Realists," Artforum, t - 
(September i o - S , p. 42. See also Patrick I. Malone and Peter Selz, "K 
There a New Chicago Sehool"-" \ri \,.\ s, ^4 Octobei m^ . 
pp. ;<' ;>), 58- $9; 1 ran/ Schulze, Fantastic Imag 
Since 1945 <• hicago: Follett Publishing ( ompany, [972 . C. L. 
Morrison, "Chicago Dialectic," {rtfbrum, 16 February 1978), 
pp. ?2- ',9: Max Kozloff, "Inwardness: <. hicago Vrt Since 194^." 
Artforum, 1 1 (October 19-2 . pp. ni 55; and( arne Rickey, 
"( hicago," Art m America, « - |ul\ August 19-9 . pp. 4- 

-4. Gylbert Coker, The World of Bob Thompson New York: Studio 

Museum in Harlem. [978 . p. 14. 

75. James K. Monte. 22 Realists New lork: Whittle) Museum ot 
American Art, [97 , p. _ . I he exhibition was preceded In two 


important non-commercial exhibitions: Realism Now, Vassar Col- 
lege Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie (May 8-June 12, 1968), and Aspects of 
a New Realism, Milwaukee Art Center (June 21-August 10, 1969), a 
show which traveled to the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 
and the Akron Art Institute. Women artists have been at the forefront 
of the contemporary portrait and studio nude tendencies, although 
not often collected by museums. Aside from Alice Neel, there are also 
Sylvia Sleigh, Joan Semmel, June Blum, etc. Sec Sons and Others: 
Women Artists See Men (Flushing, N.Y.: Queens Museum, 1975) for 
reproductions of work by some thirty-nine women artists. 

76. Linda Nochlin, "The Realist Criminal and the Abstract Law I," 
Art in America, <Si (September-October 1973), p. 54, includes under 
the rubric of realism "naturalism, social realism, Magic Realism, 
Neue Sachlichkeit, even some Surrealism, and the various New 
Realisms of the present." However, she adds: "Yet on the whole, 
realism implies a system of values involving close investigation of 
particulars, a taste for ordinary experience in a specific time, place and 
social context; and an art language that vividly transmits a sense of 
concreteness. Realism is more than and different from willful 
virtuosity, or the passive reflexivity of the mirror image, however 
much these may appear as ingredients in realist works." However, not 
all of the "realisms" she includes would be involved in the "close 
investigation of particulars." My own wish to make a distinction 
between realism and naturalism is motivated not by my desire to set 
up hard categories, but to come at recent figurative painting in a fresh 
way in order to distinguish the telling differences. 

77. In spite of Barry Schwartz's attempt, a history of "humanist art" 
may well be impossible to write because of the changing definition of 
"humanism." A good example of modernist art history is H. H. 
Arnason's History of Modern Art, rev. and enlarged ed. (New York: 
Harry N. Abrams, 1977). For example, regarding the 1930s in 
America, Arnason writes (p. 433): "The decade, however, marked a 
detente in modern art in America. Although there were many artists of 
talent, and many interesting directions in American art, most of these 
lie outside the scope of this book. In this category may be included the 
so-termed American scene painters, the social realists, the regionalists. 
Whatever their qualities and virtues may be, their work, offering little 
that was new or experimental, is not in its essence germane to the 
evolution of modern art." To Arnason, then, modernism meant the 
"new or experimental" in terms of form only. In terms of subject 
matter artists in the 1930s such as Evergood were new and ex- 
perimental by extending the themes of art way beyond the finite 
themes of previous decades. 

78. Schwartz, The New Humanism, p. 26. 

79. Ibid. Schwartz continues: "Humanism distinguishes itself from 
generally figurative art by the artist's conscious decision to judge, to 
permit self-disclosure. Unlike formalist art, abstract or figurative, 
Humanism sees beyond the face into the life of the person. It 
illuminates what other artistic intentions help us to hide. The present 
figuration would pretend to deal with surface realities of vision 
without evaluating what it is we see. At a time when society is 
fragmented and torn by mechanistic violence; at a time when two out 
of every three hospital beds are filled with the mentally ill; at a time 
when nature herself is dying the ecological death, the formalists would 
divorce the eye from the brain. If, in art, we cannot deal with our 
feelings, our maladies, our sicknesses, how will we ever find a vision of 
health? . . . What makes the new realism different from Humanism in 
art is that the Humanist is committed to the intention. . . ." However, 
at a time when "humanism" is being claimed for formalist art as well, 

there are certain advantages in using historical terms, such as 
"naturalism" as a contrast to "realism" in an attempt to fathom the 
role of content. 

80. Philip Pearlstein, "Figure Painters Today Are Not Made in 
Heaven," Art News, 61 (Summer 1962), pp. 39, 51- <ji. 

81. Interview by Patricia Hills with Philip Pearlstein, December 1 1, 

82. See note 77. 

83. To Erwin Panofsky, "The History of Art as a Humanistic 
Discipline," in Meaning in the Visual Arts (New York: Anchor Books, 
1955), p. 14, "Content as opposed to subject matter, may be described 
as . . . that which a work betrays but does not parade. It is the basic 
attitude of a nation, a period, a class, a religious or philosophical 
persuasion — all this unconsciously qualified by one personality, and 
condensed into one work." In other words, "intentionless" art does 
contain a message. It comes down to whether or not we have the 
license or the privilege or the duty to interpret works of art over and 
against the wishes of the artist and the intimidating critics. An 
interesting interpretation has been offered by art historian Matthew 
Baigell in "Pearlstein's People," Art Criticism, 1 (Spring 1979), 

pp 3— 11. Baigell speculates, p. 7, "that the artist [Pearlstein] is 
describing modern alienation. His figures, in avoiding the appearance 
of a dialogue with each other, evade responsibility for their own lives 
and signal their refusal to face an oppressive reality." 

84. As of this writing, Beal seems to be treading a thin line between 
naturalism and communicating an ambitious content, in such works 
as The Farm, 1979, and Harvest, 1979-80, exhibited at Allan 
Frumkin Gallery, February 1980. 

85. They are, however, not realists in the historical sense of wanting 
to communicate an ethical or political point of view. Because of this 
Paul Wiesenfeld and William Bailey relate more closely to pre- 
Courbet painters, such as Ingres, or the later nineteenth-century 
French academic painters. 

86. See William C. Seitz, "The Real and the Artificial," Art in 
America, 60 (November 1972), p. 71. See also "The Photo-Realists: 12 
Interviews" in the same issue. 

87. See Lawrence Alloway, "Audrey Flack — Vanitas," in Audrey 
Flack: "Vanitas" (New York: Louis K. Meisel Gallery, 1978), for 
Alloway's comment and for reproductions of Flack's recent paintings. 
Flack's comments on her work and Roldan were revealed in an 
interview with Patricia Hills, February 9, 1980. 

88. Chuck Close, "I Translate From a Photo," New York Tunes, 
October 31, 1976. 

89. Interview by Patricia Hills with Alex Katz, December 10, 1979. 
See also Ellen Schwartz, "Alex Katz: 'I See Something and Go Wow!' " 
Art News, 78 (Summer 1979), pp. 42-47. The sunny images of Katz 
remind this author of Bruno Bettelhenn's remark in The Uses of 
Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (New 
York: Vintage Books, 1977), pp. 7-8: "The dominant culture wishes 
to pretend, particularly where children are concerned, that the dark 
side of man does not exist, and professes a belief in an optimistic 

90. Quoted in Schwartz, "Alex Katz," p. 41s. 

91. Neel, on the other hand, does not identify with the New York art 
scene, and paints portraits of people from Spanish Harlem and street 
scenes of the unchic upper West Side. 



92. The intensely narcissistic images prevalent in the 197 >shavenoi 
appeared in the Whitne) Museum collection ol paintings, although 
the Autopolaroids <>t I Samaras and the phenomenological an "i 
Bruce Nauman in the form ol ^.ists oi Ins bod) have been show n in 
retrospective exhibitions. 

9 ;. Gregory Battcock used the term "posi Modernist art" in [97 ) in 
Ins introductor) essa) to Idea \rt: A < ritical Anthology, p. 9 J" 
Battcock, "post-Modemist .in" included Pop, Minimal, and 1 oncep ,m. However, Minimalism is now considered bj man) critics to 
be "1 ate Modernist." See Douglas Davis, "Post-Ever) thing," Art m 
America, 68 (February 1980), pp. n, 13- 14. Regarding literature, see 
Ihah Hassan, "POSTmodemlSM: A Paracritical Bibliography," New 
Literary History, $ (Autumn 1971), pp. j- 30. See also Malcolm 
Bradbury and James McFarl.ine, cds., Modernism I ondon: Penguin 
Books, 1976), pp. 19- 55, particularly references listed in the notes. 

94. Kim 1 evin, "1 arewell to Modernism," Arts Magazine, S4 
(October [979), p. 90. 

95. Clement Greenberg, "Modem and Post-Modern," Arts 
Magazine, s4 (February 19X0), p. 66. lor an analysis ol ( Ireenberg's 
criticism, see Donald B. Kuspit, ( 'lement Greenberg: Art < 'ritit 
(Madison: Universit) of Wisconsin Press, 1979). 

96. Ibid. 

97. First published in Partisan Renew. 20 March April 19s? . 
revised and reprinted in Susanne k. I anger, ed.. Reflections on Art, 

Baltimore: Johns 1 lopkins, 1 vs"8 '; and included in I eo Steinberg. 
( )ther ( 'riteria. 

Chapter V 
Sculpture, 1 941 -1980 

1. Irving Sandler, "1946- i960," 111 TheHirshhorn Museum and 
Sculpture Garden (New York: Ham N. Abrams, 1974), pp. 379- 

2. Jan van der Marck, George Segal New York: 1 iarr\ N. Abrams, 
[975 , pp. 1-- 18. 

3. Letter, William /orach to Edith Halpert, August 12, 1943, 
Downtown Gallery Papers, Archives ol American Art, Smithsonian 

Institution, Washington, D.C . 

4. William /orach. Art IsMyLife C leveland: World Publishing ( o., 
[967), p. 8c. 

5. See Roberta K. Tarbell, "Catalogue Raisonne ol W illiam Zorach's 
Carved Sculpture" (Ph.D. dissertation, Universit) of Delaware, [976 . 
chap, s and cat. no. 42. 

6. Chaim Gross, The Technique of Wood Sculpture NewYork:Arco 
Publishing ( o., 1957), p. > >-■ 

7. Chaim Gross, exhibition catalogue (New York: Associated Amer- 
ican Artists, 1942 . 

8. Interview, Roberta k. barbell with ( haim Gross, November 2;. 

9. [Tie exhibition Raoul Hague: Recent Sculpture at XavierFour- 
cade, New York, November 24, 1979 |anuar) 5, 1980, was reviewed: 
Hilton Kramer, "Sculpture: Big Show In an 'Unknown," 1 Neu I 
Times, November (0,1979, p. ( t8; [ohn G. Inner, "Raoul Hague," 
\cu- York Post, November jo, 1979; Walter ( banning, "Raoul 
Hague's Wood: Sculptor Shows ai Fourcade," M< I WORLD, 
December 20/Januar) is, 1980, pp. 1 and 9. 

10. Thomas B. I less, "Raoul I lague," m/2 Americans, ed. by 
Dorothy ( .Millet New York: Museum of Modern Vrt, 1956), p. 44. 

1 1. Ibid., artist's statement; see also p. 94 tor biography and bibliog- 

ii. Jacques Lipchitz with H. H. Arnason, My Life in Sculpture New 

York: Viking Press, 1972), pp. 1 s 1 - 52. Lipchitz related a similar stop, 
to Selden Rodman, who published it in Conversations with Artists 
[95 7; New York: ( aprio mi Books, 1961 1, pp. 1 ? s - j6. 

13. Lipchitz and Arnason, My Life in Sculpture, p. 152. 

14. See Sam Hunter, Rivers (New York: Hart) N. Abrams Book tor 
\b i-idian Books, 1971). Rivers was born in Brooklyn in 19.M and was 
a musician and in the army before starting to paint in 194s. I le studied 
with Hans I lofmann in New York .\m\ Pn>\ incetown in 194" .m<.\ 

1 <;. I ipchitz and Amason, Ah / ife in Sculpture, pp. 82 and s s - I he 
maquetteof 192s is illustrated on p. 84. 

16. Ibid., pp. 180 and 18?. 

17. See Wayne Andersen, American S t ulpture m Process: /<; 30- 
/970 (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1975 , pp. 2 s, $9, $9,60, 

62-63, 77' 7 8 > 86 ' x 9> 9°' 97, 100, and 242, for passages on (.nppe. 

i8. Fow \merican I xpressionists: Doris ( aesar, ' haim Gross, Karl 
Knaths, Abraham Rattner (New York: I redenck \. I'raeger for the 
Whimey Museum ol American Art, [959), jacket flap of hardcover 


[9. See John I. H. Baur, "1 >otis ( aes ar," in ibid., pp. 22- j6. 

20. See Julius I [eld's essay in the catalogue ol the retrospective 

exhibition at the Walker Art ( enter, Minneapolis, in 1 vs ;, and C arl 
Goldstein, " The Sculpture of Saul Bai/erman," \>t^. s 1 September 
[976), pp. 121-25. 

21. Illustrated in I ouise 1 ross, "Recent Sculpture 1 xhibitions," 
Creative \rt, 12 ^pril 1933), pp. 300— 302. 

22. See Figures of Dead Wen by I eonard Baskin, preface b) 
Archibald Madeish Universit) ol Massachusetts Press, 1968). 

2',. Conrad Aiken, Thee, drawings by Leonard Baskin New York: 
George Braziller, 1967 , 

14. I or Baskin's ideas see Baskin: Sculpture, Drawings, c~ Prints 
(New York: George Braziller, 197 ,pp.i - 1 V good overview ol 
1 uropean figurative sculpture >.an be found in ( liuseppe Marchiori's 
"Figurative Sculpture from 194 s to the Present," in Art v 
Mid 1 entury, the New Internationalism 1: Figural ireen- 

wich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1971 ,pp. ;< 

2s. Lucy] ippard indudes Marisol |l scobar] in her monograph on 
Pop an Pop \>: [New York: Oxford Universit) Press, 1966,] p. 101) 
but disclaims that she is realb "Pop." Marisol is not a Pop artist 
because she does not work directly from two-dimensional mass-media 


Two of Pablo Picasso's sculptures of 1953, both entitled Standing 
Woman, constructed board figures with flat straight scraps of lumber 
added on for limbs and clothed with paint, appear to be precedents for 
Mansol's figures. 

26. Illustrated in Frank Goodyear, Jr., Seven on the Figure (Philadel- 
phia: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, [979), p. 40. 

17. Barbara Isenberg, "Robert Graham: Ignoring the Lessons of 
Modern An," Art News, 78 (January 19^9), P- 69. 

18. Grace Glueck, "The Renaissance Sculptor for Roosevelt Memo- 
rial," New York limes. May 6, 1979, p. 71. 

29. Martin Friedman and Graham W. J. Beal, George Segal: 

Sculptures, exhibition catalogue (Minneapolis, Minn.: Walker Art 
Center, 1978), p. 28. The exhibition was also shown at the Whitney- 
Museum in [979. 

}o. Ibid., p. \ }. 

? 1 . See Martin H. Bush, Duane Hanson, exhibition catalogue 
(Wichita, Kans.: Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, 1976). The 
exhibition traveled extensively, making its final stop at the Whitney- 
Museum in 1978. 

32. Born in Paris in 1930, Niki de Saint Phalle moved to New York in 
19} } and returned to Europe in 1949. She was a painter during the 
early fifties, shot holes in plastic bags filled with paint in i960 and 
1961, and in 1965 began her series of anonymous black women which 
are sometimes labeled her "Nana" sculptures. 

3 3 . Hugh M. Davies has written the two most comprehensive 
analytical works on Fleischner: "Sculpture of the Last Decade," Arts, 
51 (April 1977), pp. 1 18- 2?; and Richard Fleischner (Amherst: 
University of Massachusetts, 1977). 

34. Andersen, American Sculpture, pp. 156—68, 180. 

35. Peter Selz, Funk (Berkeley. University of California Press, 1967). 

36. Excerpts from Vals Osborne's and Corinne Robins's unpublished 
articles on Grossman, 1973 and 1977 respectively, Artists' Files, 
Whitney Museum of American Art. Grossman has had solo shows at 
Cordier & Ekstrom in 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1976, and 1977. 

37. See Andersen, American Sculpture, pp. 175-76; and Maurice 
Tuehman, ed., American Sculpture of the Sixties (Los Angeles: Los 
Angeles County Museum of Art, 1967), pp. 21 1- 12, 255. 

38. Jan van der Marck, in Eight Sculptors: The Ambiguous Image 
(Minneapolis, Minn.: Walker Art Center, 1966), p. 30. 

Jack Burnham, in Beyond Modern Sculpture: The Effects of 
Science and Technology on the Sculpture of Tins ( 'entury (New York: 
George Braziller, 1968), analyzes a full range of changes in sculpture 
based on technology. 

39. Van der Marck, in Eight Sculptors, p. 32. 

40. Tovish, born in New York in 1921, studied under the WPA Art 
Project Teaching Program during the 1930s and at Columbia 
University and in Pans during the 1940s. See Hirshhorn Museum and 
Sculpture Garden, p. 755, and figs. 664, Si 6. 

41. For further information on the early figurative work of Nevelson, 
see Dorothy Gees Seckler, "The Artist Speaks: Louise Nevelson," Art 
in America, 55 (January 1967), p. 38; Arnold B. Glimcher, Louise 
Nevelson (New York: E. P. Durton, 1972, 1976); Jean Arp, "Louise 
Nevelson," XXe Steele, 22, supp. 19 (June i960); John Gordon, 
Louise Nevelson (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 

1 96-); and Louise Nevelson and Diana MacKown, Dawns & Dusks 
(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 19-6). 

42. See Robert Arneson, essays by Stephen Prokopoff and Suzanne 
Foley (Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art, 19^4), and Garth 
Clark, A Century of ( '.eramics in the United States, iS-X-iyjS: A 
Study of its Development (New York: E. P. Dutton in association with 
the Everson Museum of Art, 1979). 

43. See Robert Arneson: Self-I'ortraits (Philadelphia: Moore College 
of Art, 1979), and Sarah McFadden, "Robert Arneson at Frumkin," 
Art in America 65 (July/August 1977), pp. 101 and 10}. 

44. Interview, Roberta K. Tarbell with Robert Arneson, January 19, 

45. London-born and a student of the dance with Martha Graham in 
New York (1949), Mary Frank married the Swiss photographer 
Robert Frank in 1951. She studied briefly with Hans Hofmann in 1951 
and carved free-form wood designs during the mid-1950s. During the 
1960s she drew and made small figures in wax of swimmers and 
dancers to be cast in bronze, and her talent for swiftness and fleeting 
gesture began to assert itself. 

46. Eleanor Munro, Originals: American Women Artists (New 
York: Simon & Schuster, 1979), p. 293. 

47. Ibid., p. 304. For further information see Martica Sawin, "The 
Sculpture of Mary Frank," Arts, 51 (March 1977), pp. 130-32. Eight 
solo exhibitions of Frank's sculpture were held at the Zabriskie 
Gallery between 1968 and 1979. 

48. See Rodman, Conversations with Artists, pp. 128- 29. 

49. Clement Greenberg, Art and Culture: ( 'ritual Essays (Boston: 
Beacon Press, 1961), p. 143. 

50. Clement Greenberg, "Art," Nation, January 8, 1949, p. 51. 

51. Donald B. Kuspit, Clement Greenberg: Art ( 'ritic, (Madison: 
University of Wisconsin Press, 1979), p. i\. 

52. Miller's exhibitions and sculptures have been analyzed positively 
in such divergent periodicals as Artforum, Art International, National 
Sculpture Review, and American Artist. Richard Miller was born in 
1922, spent his first forty years in Ohio, having graduated from the 
Cleveland Institute of Art in 195 1. He moved to New York in 1962, 
persevering in his creation of realistic figures in the age of abstraction. 
His book Figure Sculpture in Wax and Plaster was published by 
Watson-Guptill in 19-1. 

53. Michele Cone, "The Question of Post-Modernism," Women 
Artists News, 4 (February 1979), p. 12. 

Selected Bibliography 

The following is a basic reading list. For monographs and 
material on specific topics, consult the individual essays. In 
addition, the major archival resources are: Archives of 
American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.( .; 
the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Papers and the Artists' Files, 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 

Allan Frumkin Gallery. "Kinds of Realism." Newsletter, 

Winter 1979. Statements by Alfred Leslie, William Beckman, 
Philip Pearlstein, Chuck Close, Jack Beal, Paul Georges, and 
Richard Estes; ed. by J. Martin. 

Alloway, Lawrence. American Pop Art. New York and 
London: Collier Books and Collier Macmillan Publishers in 
association with the Whitney Museum of American 
An, 1974. 

. "Art as Likeness." Arts Magazine, 41 (May 1967), 

pp. 34- : *9. 

Andersen, Wayne. American Sculpture in Process: 
1930-1970. Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1975. 

Armstrong, Tom; Craven, Wayne; Feder, Norman; Haskell, 
Barbara; Krauss, Rosalind F..; Robbins, Daniel; Tucker, 
Marcia. 100 Years of American Sculpture. New York: David 
R. Godine in association with the Whitney Museum of 
American Art, 1976. 

Art Since Mid-Century: The New Internationalism. Vol. 2., 
Figurative Art. Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic 
Society, 1975. 

Ashton, Dore. The New York School: A Cultural Reckoning. 
New York: Viking Press, 1972. 

Baigell, Matthew. The American Scene: American Painting of 
the 1930s. New York: Praeger, 1974. 

Battcock, Gregory, ed. Super Realism: A Critical Anthology. 
New York: E. P. Dutton, 1975. 

Baur, John I. H. The New Decade. New York: Whitney 
Museum of American Art, 195 5. 

Boston Expressionism: Hyman Bloom, lack Levine, Karl 
Zerbe. Essays by Gillian Levine, Stephen Prokopoff, and 
Elizabeth Sussman. Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art, 

Brown, Milton W. American Painting from the Armory Show 

to the Depression. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Universit\ 
Press, 1955. 

Brumme, C . 1 udwig. ( ontemporary American Sculpture. 
Foreword by William Zorach. New York: Crown 
Publishers, [948. 

Burnham, Jack. Beyond Modern Sculpture: The I ffects of 
Science and Technology on the V ulpture of I his ( 'entury. 
New York: George Braziller. 1968. 

Butler, Ruth. Western Sculpture: Definitions of Man. Boston: 
New York Graphic Society, 1975. 

Chipp, Herschcl B. Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book 
by Artists and ( ritics. Berkeley: University of California 
Press, 1968. 

Clark, Garth. A Century of Ceramics in the i 'nited States, 

1878-1978: A Study 0) its Development. New York: E. P. 
Dutton, 1979. 

Craven, Wayne. Sculpture in America: From the < olonial 
Period to the Present. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1968. 

Cummings, Paul. A Dictionary of Contemporary American 
Artists. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1966. 

Doty, Robert M. Human Concern/Personal Torment: The 
Grotesque in American Art. New York: Whitney Museum of 
American Art, 1969. 

Elsen, Albert E. Origins of Modern Sculpture: Pioneers and 
Premises. New York: George Braziller, 19-4. 

. The Partial Figure in Modern Sculpture: I rom Rodin 

to 1969. Baltimore, Md.: Baltimore Museum oi Art, 1969. 

Fink, Lois Marie, and Taylor, Joshua C. Academy: The 
Academic Tradition in American Art. Washington, D.C.: 
Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Collection of 
Fine Arts, 1975. 

Fogg Art Museum. Recent Figure Sculpture. C ambndge, 
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 19-2. 

Friedman, B. H., with the research collaboration of Flora 
Miller Irving. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: A Biography. 
Garden ( ity, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1978. 

Friedman, Martin, and van der Marck, Jan. / ight Sculptors: 
The Ambiguous Image. Minneapolis. Minn.: Walker An 
C enter, [966. 

Gardner, Albert renEyck. American Sculpture: A Catalogue 
of the ( ollection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New 
York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1 <•>(•> s. 


Gerdts, William H. The Great American Nude: A History in 
Art. New York: Praeger, 1974. 

1 A Survey of American Sculpture. Newark, N.J.: 

Newark Museum, 1962. 

Geske, Norman. The Figurative Tradition in Recent 
American Art. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution 
Press for the National Collection of Fine Arts, 1968. 

Goodrich, Lloyd. The Whitney Studio Club and American 
Art 1900-1932. New York: Whitney Museum of American 
Art, 1975. 

and Baur, John I. H. American Art of Our Century. 

New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1961. 

and Baur, John I. H. Four American Expressionists: 

Doris Caesar, Chaim Gross, Karl Knaths, Abraham Rattner. 
New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1959. 

Goodyear, Frank, Jr. Eight Contemporary American Realists. 
Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1977. 

1 Seven on the Figure. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania 

Academy of the Fine Arts, 1979. 

Henry, Gerrit. "The Artist and the Face: A Modern American 
Sampling." Art in America, 63 (January-February 1975), 
pp. 34-41. 

Hills, Patricia. Turn-of-the-Century America: Paintings, 
Graphics, Photographs, 1890-1910. New York: Whitney 
Museum of American Art, 1977. 

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Foreword by 
S. Dillon Ripley, ed. and with an introduction by Abram 
Lerner. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1974. 

Homer, William Innes, with the assistance of Violet Organ. 
Robert Henri and His Circle. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University 
Press, 1969. 

The Hundredth Anniversary Exhibition of Paintings and 
Sculptures by 100 Artists Associated with the Art Students 
League of New York. Foreword by Lawrence Campbell. New 
York: Kennedy Galleries, 1975. 

Juliana Force and American Art: A Memorial Exhibition. 
Essays by Hermon More and Lloyd Goodrich, John Sloan, 
Guy Pene du Bois, Alexander Brook, and Forbes Watson. 
New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1949. 

Kramer, Hilton. "Realists and Others." Arts Magazine, 38 
(January 1964), pp. 18-22. 

Laderman, Gabriel. "Unconventional Realists." Artforum, 6 
(November 1967), pp. 42-46. 

Marter, Joan; Tarbell, Roberta K.; and Wechsler, Jeffrey. 
Vanguard American Sculpture. New Brunswick, N.J.: 
Rutgers University Art Gallery, 1979. 

Miller, Dorothy C, ed. iz Americans. New York: Museum of 
Modern Art, 1956. 

Monte, James K. 11 Realists. New York: Whitney Museum of 
American Art, 1970. 

Munro, Eleanor. Originals: American Women Artists. New 
York: Simon and Schuster, 1979. 

Nochlin, Linda. Realism. Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1971. 

. "Some Women Realists: Painters of the Figure." Arts 

Magazine, 48 (May 1974), pp. 29-33. 

Pearlstein, Philip. "Figure Paintings Today Are Not Made in 
Heaven." Art News, 62 (Summer 1962), pp. 39, 51-52. 

Perlman, Bennard B. The Immortal Eight: American Painting 
from Eakins to the Armory Show, 1870-191 j. Westport, 
Conn.: North Light Publishers, 1979. 

Pincus-Witten, Robert. Postminimalism. New York: Out of 
London Press, 1977. 

Proske, Beatrice Gilman. Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture. 
Brookgreen Gardens, S.C.: Brookgreen Gardens, 1968. 

Rodman, Selden. Conversations with Artists. Rev. ed. New 
York: Capricorn Books, 1961. 

Sandler, Irving. The New York School: The Painters and 
Sculptors of the Fifties. New York: Harper & Row, 1978. 

Schnier, Jacques. Sculpture in Modern America. Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 1948. 

Schwartz, Barry. The New Humanism: Art in a Time of 
Change. New York: Praeger, 1974. 

Seitz, William C. "The Real and the Artificial: Painting of the 
New Environment." Art in America, 60 (November 1972): 
pp. 58-72. 

Selz, Peter. Funk. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967. 

. New Images of Man. New York: Museum of Modern 

Art, 1959. 

Shapiro, David, ed. Social Realism: Art as a Weapon. New 
York: Frederick Ungar, 1973. 

Tillim, Sidney. "The Reception of Figurative Art: Notes on a 
General Misunderstanding." Artforum, 7 (February 1969), 
pp. 30-32. 

Tuchman, Maurice, ed. American Sculpture of the Sixties. Los 
Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1967. 

Varnedoe, J. Kirk T, et al. Modern Portraits: The Self and 
Others. New York: Columbia University, 1976. 

Wechsler, Jeffrey. Surrealism and American Art, ly^i-iy^y. 
New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Art Gallery, 1979. 

Whitney Museum of American Art. Catalogue of the 
Collection. Introduction by John I. H. Baur. New York: 
Whitney Museum of American Art, 1974. 

Young, Walter Byron. "Black American Painters and the Civil 
Rights Movement: A Study of Relationships, 195 5-1970." 
D. Ed. dissertation, Pennsylvania State University, 1972. 

Checklist of the Exhibition 


Nicholas Africano (b. 1948) 
An Argument, 1977 
Vcrylic, oil, and wax on canvas, 

69 x 85V2 inches 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. 
Marsteller, 77.68 

Malcolm Bailey (b. 1947 

Untitled, 1969 

Synthetic polymer on composition board. 

48 x ~i inches 
Larry Aldrich Foundation Fund, 69.77 

William Bailey (b. 1930) 
"N" (Female Nude), c. 1965 
Oil on canvas, 48 x 72 inches 
Gift of Mrs. Louis Sosland, j6. 59 

Eugenie Baizerman (1899- 1949) 
A Quiet Scene, c. 1947 
Oil on canvas, 78 x 54 inches 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger 
(and purchase), 61.19 

Gifford Beal (18-9- 1956) 
Fisherman, 1918 

Oil on canvas 36V2 x 48V2 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Jack Beal (b. 193 1) 
Danae II, 1972 
Oil on canvas, 68 x 68 inches 
Gift of Charles Simon, anonymous donor 
(and purchase), -4.82 

Romare Bearden (b. 1914) 

Eastern Barn, 1968 

Collage of glue, lacquer, oil, and paper on 

composition board, 55V2 x 44 inches 
Purchase, 69.14 

Robert Bechtlc (b. [932 
'61 Pontiac, [968 69 
Oil on canvas, 60 x S4 inches 
Richard and Dorothy Rodgers I und, 
70. 1 6 

George Bellows (1882— 1925 
Dempsey and I irpo, 1^14 
Oil on canvas, si ■ 6} '4 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 
5 1 .9 5 

Thomas Hart Benton (1889- 1975) 
The Lord Is My Shepherd, 1926 
Tempera on canvas, 33 Va x 2-' 4 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

? 1 . 1 00 
Poker Night (From "A Streetcar XjmcJ 

Desire"), 1948 
Tempera and oil on panel, 36 x 48 inches 
Promised gift of Mrs. Percy I Iris, 5.77 

Elmer Bischoff (b. 19 16) 
Seated Figure in Garden, [958 

Oil on canvas, 48 x 57 inches 
Purchase, 59.2 

Isabel Bishop (b. 1902) 

Nude, 1 9} 4 

Oil on composition board, } ; x 40 inches 

Purchase, 34.1 ] 

Peter Blume (b. 1906) 

Light of the World, 1932 

Oil on composition board, 18 x 20 1 4 

Purchase, ; ;.s 

Man of Sorrows, ims 1 

Tempera on canvas, 28 x 24 inches 

Purchase, 51.5 

Robert Broderson (b. 1920) 
Memory of ( hildhood, 196] 

Oil on cam. is, 65V2 ■ n - ' : inches 

Gift under the lord Foundation Purchase 

Program, 62.2 

Alexander Brook iS^S-1980) 

Girl with Flower, 1930 

Oil on canvas, 54 X 26 inches 

Gift of < iertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 


Roger Brown (b. 194 s 
The Entry of < hristintoi hicagoin 1976, 

Oil on canvas, 72 x 120 inches 

Gift ot Mr. and Mrs. Joel S. Ehrenkranz 

(bj exchange . Mr. and Mrs. Edwin A. 

Bergman, and the National I ndowment 

for the Arts. — ,56 

Paul Cadmus (b. 1904) 

Sailors and I loosies, 1938 

Oil and tempera on composition board. 

25 x 59* 2 inches 
Anonymous gift (subject to life interest), 

Fantasia on a Theme by Dr. V. 1946 
Egg tempera on composition hoard, 

13 x 1 5 inches 
Purchase, 47.1 

Federico Castellon (1914-1971 

//'(■ Dark I igure, [938 

Oil on canvas, 17 x 26 inches 

Purchase, 42. 5 

Daniel R. Celentano b. 1902) 
The I irst Bom, [9 -, - 
Oil on canvas, 2.6 - 14 inches 
Purchase, $7.38 

Chuck Close (b. 1940) 

Phil, 1969 

Synthetic polymer on canvas, to8 

Giftot Mrs. Robert M. Benjamin, (19.102 

Vrthui ( risp [88i -?) 
Adam and I ve, c 

Oil on plaster. 22 • JO inches 
ditt ot Gertrude Vanderbilt \Yhitnc\. 

1 86 

John Steuart Curry (1897-1946) 
Baptism m Kansas, 1928 
Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 3 1 . 

Arthur B. Davies (1862- 1928) 

Crescendo, 19 10 

Oil on canvas, 18 X 40 inches 

Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Day of Good Fortune, 1920 
Oil on canvas, 18 x 30 inches 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur G. Altschul, 


Willem de Kooning (b. 1904) 

Woman and Bicycle, 1952— 53 

Oil on canvas, 76V2 x 49 inches 

Purchase, 55.35 

Woman Acabonic, 1966 

Oil on paper on canvas, 80V2 x 36 inches 

Gift of Mrs. Bernard F. Gimbel, 67.75 

Edwin Dickinson (1 891 -1978) 
The Fossil Hunters, 1926- 28 
Oil on canvas, 96V2 x 73% inches 
Purchase, 58.29 

Richard Diebenkorn (b. 1922) 
Girl Looking at Landscape, 1957 
Oil on canvas, 59 x 60V4 inches 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alan H. Temple, 

Guy Pene du Bois (1884- 1958) 
Opera Box, 1926 
Oil on canvas, 57V2 x 45V4 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 


Philip Evergood (1901-1973) 
The New Lazarus, 1927/54 
Oil on plywood, 48 x 83 'A inches 
Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 54.60 
Lily and the Sparrows, 1939 
Oil on composition board, 30 x 24 inches 
Purchase, 41.42 
The Jester, 1950 
Oil on canvas, 72 x 96 inches 
Gift of Sol Brody (subject to life interest), 

Ernest Fiene (1894- 1965) 
Concetta, 1926 

Oil on canvas, 40V4 x 30V4 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Audrey Flack (b. 1931) 
Lady Madonna, 1972 
Oil on canvas, 78 x 69 inches 
Gift of Martin J. Zimet, 72.42 

Jared French (b. 1905) 

The Rope, 1954 

Egg tempera on paper, n% X 12V2 inches 

Charles F. Williams Fund, 56.3 

Emil Ganso (1895- 194 1) 

Gertie, c. 1928 

Oil on canvas, 40 x 34 inches 

Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 


Paul Georges (b. 1923) 

The Studio, 1965 

Oil on canvas, 120V2 x 79V2 inches 

Neysa McMein Purchase Award, 66.12 

Gregory Gillespie (b. 1936) 

Two Women, 1965 

Oil, synthetic polymer, tempera, and col- 
lage on wood, 14X11 inches 

Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Mu- 
seum of American Art, 66.79 

William J. Glackens (1870- 1938) 
Reclining Nude, 1910 
Oil on canvas, 32% x 54 inches 
Gift of Charles Simon, 78.104 
Girl in Black and White, 19 14 
Oil on canvas, 32 x 26 inches 
Gift of the Glackens Family, 38.53 

Sidney Goodman (b. 1936) 

The Walk, 1963-64 

Oil on canvas, 83V2 x 65V4 inches 

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Abraham Melamed, 

Room 318, 1971-72 
Oil on canvas, 75 x 97 inches 
Purchased with the aid of funds from the 

National Endowment for the Arts (and 

exchange), 73.8 

Robert Gordy (b. 1933) 
Boxville Tangle, Number 1, 1968 
Synthetic polymer on canvas, 90 x 66 

Larry Aldrich Foundation Fund, 68.49 

Arshile Gorky (1904- 1948) 
The Artist and His Mother, 1 926- 29 
Oil on canvas, 60 x 50 inches 
Gift of Julien Levy for Maro and Natasha 
Gorky in memory of their father, 50.17 

John D. Graham (1881- 1961) 
Head of a Woman, 1926 
Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Stephen Greene (b. 1918) 

The Burial, 1947 

Oil on canvas, 42 x 55 inches 

Purchase, 49.16 

George Grosz ( 1 8 9 3 - 1 9 5 9 ) 
Peace, II, 1946 

Oil on canvas, 47x33 'A inches 
Purchase, 47.2 

Louis Guglielmi (1906- 1956) 

The Various Spring, 1937 

Oil on canvas, 15V4 x 19V4 inches 

Promised gift of Flora Whitney Miller, 

Terror in Brooklyn, 1941 
Oil on canvas, 34 x 30 inches 
Purchase, 42.5 

Robert Gwathmey (b. 1903) 
Sowing, 1949 

Oil on canvas, 36 x 40 inches 
Purchase, 49.17 

Robert Henri (1865- 1929) 

Laughing Child, 1907 

Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches 

Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Sammy and His Mother, 1915 
Oil on canvas, 32x26 inches 
Promised gift of Mrs. Percy Uris, 16.77 
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 191 6 
Oil on canvas, 50 x 72 inches 
Promised gift of Flora Whitney Miller, 


( bet klisi 187 

Joseph Hirsch (b. 1910) 

Intern »■ with I igures, 1962 

Oil on canvas, 45 ■ 72 inches 

ditt of Rita and Daniel Fraad, [r., 62.57 

Edward Hopper (1882- [967 
Summer Interior, 1909 
Oil on canvas, 24 x 29 inches 
Bequest of Josephine N. Hopper, 70.] [97 
( arolina Morning, [955 
Oil on canvas, \o x 40 inches 
Given in memory of Otto 1 . Spaeth by his 
family, 6-.1 5 

Ben Kamihira (b. 1925) 

The Couch, i960 

Oil on canvas, 63 ■ 79 1 -4 inches 

Sumner Foundation Purchase Award, 

Howard Kanovitz (b. 1919) 

Xeic Yorkers I, 1965 

Synthetic polymer on cam as, 70 X 93V2 

(iift of the artist, 69.1-2 

Bernard Karfiol (1886-19 5 1 

Boy Bathers, 19 16 

Oil on canvas, 28 x 36 inches 

Purchase (and exchange,!, 54.19 

Alex Katz (b, 1927) 

Place, 1977 

Oil on canvas, 108 x 144 inches 

Gift of Frances ,\\k\ Sydney Lewis, 78.2 j 

Herbert Katzman (b. 1923) 

Two Nudes Be/ore Japanese Screen, [952 

Oil on composition board, 76x43 inches 

Juliana Force Purchase, 5 ', .5 

James Kearns (b. 1924) 

( at's ( radle, 1959 

Oil on composition hoard, 60 » 48 inches 

Neysa McMein Purchase Award, 60.18 

Rockwell Kent (1882- 197 1 
The Trapper, 1921 
Oil on canvas, 14-44 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Henry Koerner h. 1915) 

Vanity Fair, [946 

Oil on composition board, \6 ■ 42 inches 

Puahase, 48.2 

Lee Krasner (b. 1908) 

Imperfect Indicative, [976 

( ollage on canvas, ~s x -2 inches 

( iitt ot Frances and Sydney I ew is, — .32 

Leon Kroll (1884- 1974 

Nude in a Blue ( hair, 1930 

Oil on canvas, 48 Va ■ \ 6 Va inches 

( . 1 1 1 ot ( icrtrudc Vanderbilt Whitney, 


WaltKuhn(i8-- 1949) 
The Blue ( loicn, 1931 
Oil on canvas, jo ■ 25 inches 
Purchase, 12.25 

Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889- 195 ; 

( /'//</, 192; 

( )il on canvas, 10 x 24 inc hes 

Gift of Mrs. Edith Gregor Halpert, ss.i 

I'm Tired, 1918 

Oil on canvas, 40V4 x 31 inches 

Purchase, $9. 12 

Joe Lasker (b. 1919) 

Naples, ivsi 

Oil on canvas, 34% x 51 inches 

Purchase, 53.50 

Jacob Lawrence (b. 1917) 

War Series: Another Patrol, 1946 tempera on composition hoard, 

16 x 20 inches 
( iift ot Mr. and Mrs. Ro\ R. Neuberger, 

War Series: Beacht\hl, iv4~ 
Egg tempera on composition hoard, 

16 x 20 inches 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger, 

War Series: Reported Missing, 194" 
Egg tempera on composition hoard, 

16 x 20 inches 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger, 


Alfred I eslie b. [9 

Alfred I eslie, 1966 
Oil on canvas, 108 • -2 inches 
( mi ot the I ru nds of the W hitne) Mu 
seum of American \n. 67. 10 

Jack I evine b. 1915) 
Gangstei I uncial, 1952—53 
( )il on canvas, 63 - ~2 indies 
Purchase, 5 1-4- 

Richard Lindner (1901- i< 
/i e, 1966 

Oil on cam as, -o x 60 inches 
ditt ot the I riends of the Whitney Mu- 
seum ot .American Art, 67.17 

George Luks (1867- 1933) 

Old Woman with White Pitcher, 1926 

Oil on canvas, 50 X 25 inches 

Gift ot Mr. and Mrs. 1 esley G. Sheafer, 

\lr>. Camley, 1930 
Oil on canvas, 66 x 48 inches 
ditt of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 


Reginald Marsh (1898- iv^ 

Why Not I hethe "I "? 1930 

Egg tempera on canvas, j6 < 48 inches 

Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Twenty ( cut Movie, [936 tempera on composition hoard, 

30 x 40 inches 
Purchase, J7.43 

Alfred H. Maurer 1 868- 1932) 
.A;; Arrangement, 1901 

Oil On cardboard, }6 ■ JI% inches 
(nil ,.t Mr. and Mrs. Hudson D. Walker. 
50.1 1 

James McGarrell ib. 1930) 

Service, [962 

Oil on canvas. 75 ■ 68 inches 
Sumner Foundation Purchase Ward, 

Richard Mel can h. [9 14 

Still I if e with Black Jockey, 1969 

Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches 
Purchase, ~o. 1 - 


Kenneth Hayes Miller (1876- 1952) 
Shopper, 1928 

Oil on canvas, 41 x 33 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Jan Miiller (1922- 1958) 
The Temptation of St. Anthony, 1957 
Oil on canvas, 79 x 120% inches 
Purchase, 72.30 

Alice Neel (b. 1908) 

John Perreault, 1972 

Oil on canvas, 38 x 63 V2 inches 

Gift of anonymous donors, 76.26 

The Soyer Brothers, 1973 

Oil on canvas, 60 x 46 inches 

Gift of Arthur M Bullowa, Sydney Duffy, 

Stewart R. Mott, Edward Rosenthal 

(and purchase), 74.77 

Jim Nutt (b. 1938) 

She's Hit, 1967 

Synthetic polymer on plexiglas and 

enamel on wood, 36V2 x 24 V2 inches 
Larry Aldrich Foundation Fund, 69.101 

Nathan Oliveira (b. 1928) 
Bather 1, 1959 

Oil on canvas, 52V2 x 45 inches 
Gift of Mrs. Iola S. Haverstick, 66.7 

David Park (191 1- 1960) 

Four Men, 1958 

Oil on canvas, 57 x 92 inches 

Gift of an anonymous foundation, 59.27 

Philip Pearlstein (b. 1924) 
Seated Nude on Green Drape, 1969 
Oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches 
Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Mu- 
seum of American Art, 70.2 

Fairfield Porter (1907- 1975) 

The Screen Porch, 1964 

Oil on canvas, 79V2 x 79V2 inches 

Lawrence H. Bloedel Bequest, 77.1.4] 

Maurice Prendergast (1859- 1924) 
The Promenade, 191 3 
Oil on canvas, 30 x 34 inches 
Bequest of Alexander M. Bing, 60.10 

Christina Ramberg (b. 1946) 
Istrian River Lady, 1974 
Synthetic polymer on masonite, 

^4 ' 2 x 30 inches 
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Fredric M. Roberts in 

memory of their son, James Reed 

Roberts, 74.12 

Abraham Rattner (1895- 1978) 
Song of Esther, 1958 

Oil on composition board, 60 x 48 inches 
Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Mu- 
seum of American Art, 58.36 

Man Ray (1890- 1976) 

Five Figures, 19 14 

Oil on canvas, 36x32 inches 

Gift of Mrs. Katharine Kuh, 56.36 

Siegfried Reinhardt (b. 1925) 

Cru cifixio n, 1953 

Oil on composition board, 28 x 45V2 

Gift of William Benton, 5 5.2 

Louis Ribak (1902- 1979) 
Home Relief Station, 1935-36 
Oil on canvas, 28 x 36 inches 
Purchase, 36.148 

Larry Rivers (b. 1923) 
Double Portrait of Berdie, 1955 
Oil on canvas, 70 3 /4 x 82V2 inches 
Anonymous gift, 56.9 

Peter Saul (b. 1934) 
Saigon, 1967 

Oil on canvas, 92% x 142 inches 
Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Mu- 
seum of American Art, 69.103 

Katherine Schmidt (1898- 1978) 
Broe and McDonald Listen In, 1937 
Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches 
Purchase (and exchange), 50.15 

Henry Schnakenberg (1892- 1970) 
Conversation, 1930 
Oil on canvas, 50V4 x 36 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Ben Shahn (1898- 1969) 

The Passion ofSacco and Vanzetti, 

1 9 3 1-32 
Tempera on canvas, 84 x k x 48 inches 
Gift of Edith and Milton Lowenthal in 

memory of Juliana Force, 49.22 
Reconstruction, 1945 
Tempera on composition board, 26 x ^9 

Purchase, 46.4 

Everett Shinn (1876— 195 3) 

Revue, 1908 

Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Mitchell Siporin (1910- i9~6) 
Dancers by the Clock, 1949 
Oil on canvas, 40V2 x 60 inches 
Purchase, 50.22 

John Sloan (1871— 1951) 
The Picnic Grounds, 1906-07 
Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches 
Purchase, 41.34 
Dolly with a Black Bow, 1907 
Oil on canvas, 32 x 26 inches 
Gift of Miss Amelia Elizabeth White, 

Isaac Soyer (b. 1907) 
Employment Agency, 1937 
Oil on canvas, 34V4 x 45 inches 
Purchase, 37.44 

Moses Soyer (1899- 1974) 

Julia Evergood, 1962 

Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches 

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Percy Uris, 63.4 

Raphael Soyer (b. 1899) 

Office Girls, 1936 

Oil on canvas, 26 x 24 inches 

Purchase, 36.149 

Reading from Left to Right, 1938 

Oil on canvas, 26^4 x 20 V2 inches 

Gift of Mrs. Emil J. Arnold in memory of 

Emil J. Arnold and in honor of Lloyd 

Goodrich, 74.3 

( bet klist 189 

Bob Thompson njr [965 
An Allegory, 1 v f •> 4 
Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 inches 
GiftofThomas Bellinger, -1.1 57 

Bradley Walker Tomlin (1899- 1953) 
Self-Por trait, [932 
Oil on canvas, r x 14 inches 
Gift of Henry Ittleson, |r., 55.28 

George Tooker (b. 192.0) 
The Subway, [950 

Egg tempera on composition board, 
18 x }6 inches 

Juliana Force Purchase, 50.20 

Robert Vickrey (b. [926 

The Labyrinth, 19s 1 

Casein on composition board, 51x48 

Juliana Force Purchase, 52.6 

Andy Warhol (b. 1931) 

Before and After, j, 1962 

Synthetic polymer on canvas, 74 x 100 

Gift of Charles Simon (and purchase), 


Neil Welliver (b. 192.9) 
Girl with Striped Washcloth, 19-1 
Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches 
Gift of Charles Simon, -1.17 

Tom Wesselmann (b. 1931) 

Great American Nude, Number 57, 1964 

Synthetic polymer on composition board, 
48 x 65 inches 

Cift of the Friends of the Whitney Mu- 
seum ot American Art, 65.10 

Charles White (b. 191 8) 
Wanted Poster Number hour, 1969 
Oil on composition board, 24 x 24 inches 
Gift of The Hament Corporation (and 
purchase), 70.41 

Paul Wiesenfeld b. 1 941 
Secrets II, 1968-69 
Oil on canvas, 63 ■ 66\ 2 inches 
Richard and Dorothy Rodgers Fund, 

William Zorach (1887- [966 
The Roof Playground, [917 
( >il on canvas, 29 ■ 2 j ' • inches 
Gift nt Mr. and Mrs. Arthur G. Altschul 


Alexander Archipenko (1887- 1964) 

Torso in Spat e, [9 $6 

Metalized terra-cotta, 21 x 60 x 13 inches 

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Rubel, 58.24 

Robert Arncson (b. 1930) 
Whistling in the Dark, 1976 
Terra-cotta and glazed ceramic, 

j 5 ! 4 x 10 x 20 inches 
Gift of Frances and Sydne) 1 ewis, 77.37 

Saul Baizerman (1889- 1957) 
Slumber, 1948 

Hammered copper, 40 x 25 x 23 inches 
Purchase, 48.20 

Leonard Baskin (b. 1922) 

Hephaestus, 196 5 

Bronze, 63V4 x 23V2 x 23% inches 
(iitt of the Friends of the Whitney Mu- 
seum of American Art, 64.16 

Michael Brenner (1885- 1969) 
Portrait of a Wan, before 1930 
Bronze, 13 x 9V4 x 7% inches 
Gift of Mrs. Michael Brenner, 74.8 

Doris Caesar (1893- 19- 1 
Woman on One Knee, n.d. 
Bronze, 14V2 x 4% x 8 3 A inches 
Lawrence H. Bloedel Bequest 

Alexander Calder (1898- 1976) 

Woman, c. 1926 

Elmwood, 24 x 6 1 2 X 6 inches 

Gift of Howard and Jean Lipman, 75.27 

The Brass Family, [929 

Brass wire, 64 x 41 X 8 1 : inches 
Gift of the artist, 69.25 \ 
Belt Buckle Wire I emale Figure), [935 
Brass, 8 x 5 x ' ; inches 
Gift of Mrs. Marcel Duchamp in memor) 
of the artist, __ .ii 

Bruce ( onnei b. I ■• 

Medusa, i960 

( ardboard, hair, nylon, wax, and wood, 

10V4 x 1 1 - 11 1 4 1 ik lies 
(iitt ot the I toward and lean I ipinan 

I 1 tundation, Inc., 66.19 

Jo Davidson (1883 [952) 
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, c 1917 
Bronze, 10 x 5V2 x 4% inches 
Gift of Flora Whitney Miller, 68.24 
( "iertrude stem, 1920 
Bronze, jiVi X 23 V* X 24': inches 
Purchase, 54.10 
Female Torso, (927 
[erra-cotta, 12V2 x 10V2 x 6V2 inches 
Purchase, J 3.5 5 
Dr. Albert Einstein, 1954 
Bronze, i3 3 /4 xioxn inches 
Purchase, 34.31 

Jose de Creeft (b. 1884) 

The Cloud, 1 9 3 9 

Greenstone, 13V2 x 12V2 x 8V2 inches 

Purchase, 41.1- 

Niki de Saint Phalle b. 1930) 
Black Venus, 1967 

Painted polyester, 1 10 x 35 x 24 inches 
Gift of the Howard and Jean Lipman 
foundation. Inc., 68.7 j 

Abastenia St. Leger Eberle (18-8- 1941 

Roller Skating, before 1909 
Bronze, 13 x 11% x 6V4 inches 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Paul Fiene (1899- 1949) 
Bust of Grant Woo./, c. 1941 
Bronze, i _l 4 X - 1 2 x 8 inches 
Promised gift ot Mr. and Mrs. ( leorge D. 
Stoddard, [.77 

Richard Fleischner b. [944 
Walking Figure, i9~o 
Bron/e. copper, and silver, 

-'j • ii 1 : ■ 1 5 4 inches 
Anonymous gift, 71.188 


Man Frank (b. 1933) 

Swimmer, 1978 

Ceramic, 17 x 94 x 32 inches 

Gift of Mrs. Robert M. Benjamin, Mrs. 
Oscar Kolin, and Mrs. Nicholas Mill- 
house, 79.31 

Frank Gallo (b. 1933) 

The Swimmer, [964 

Polyester resin, 65 x 16 x 41 'A inches 

Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Mu- 
seum of American Art and the artist, 

Robert Graham (b. 1938) 

Untitled, 1968 

Balsa wood, plexiglas, and wax, 

12 x 30 x 15 inches 
Gift of the Howard and Jean Lipman 

Foundation, Inc., 69.56 

Peter Grippe (b. 191 2) 
Three Furies, II, 1955—56 
Bronze, 14 x 11V2 x 9% inches 
Purchase, 57.44 

Chaim Gross (b. 1904) 
Acrobatic Dancers, 1942 
Ebony, 40V2 x 10V2 x 7 inches 
Purchase, 42.28 

Nancy Grossman (b. 1940) 

Head, 1968 

Epoxy, leather, and wood, 

16V4 x 6V2 x 8V2 inches 
Gift of the Howard and Jean Lipman 

Foundation, Inc., 68.81 

Raoul Hague (b. 1905) 
Figure in Elm, 1948 
Elm, 48V2 x 14 x 14 inches 
Gift of the Howard and Jean Lipman 
Foundation, Inc., 66.26 

Duane Hanson (b. 1925) 

Woman and Dog, 1977 

Polychromed polyvinyl, life-size 

Gift of Frances and Sydney Lewis, 78.6 

Malvina Hoffman (1885-1966) 
Pavlova, 191 5 
Bronze, 13% inches high 
Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Edward Kienholz (b. 1927) 

//v Wait, 1964- 6 s 

Tableau: epoxy, glass, wood, and found 

objects, 80 x 148 x 78 inches 
Gift of the Howard and Jean Lipman 

Foundation, Inc., 66.49 

Gaston Lachaise (1882—1935) 

Standing Woman, 1912-27 

Bronze, 70 x 28 x 16 inches 

Purchase, 36.91 

Standing Figure, 1927 

Bronze, 1 1V4 x 4 'A x 3V4 inches 

Given in memory of Edith Gregor Halpert 

by the Halpert Foundation, 75.14 
Torso, 1930 

Bronze, 1 1V2 x 7 x 2V4 inches 
Purchase, 58.4 
Man Walking, 1933 
Bronze, 23 x 11V4 x 8V2 inches 
Purchase, 33.58 

Robert Laurent (1890- 1970) 
Kneeling Figure, 1935 
Bronze, 23 V2 xn'Ax u inches 
Purchase, 36.2 

Jacques Lipchitz (1891- 1973) 
Marsden Hartley Sleeping, 1942 
Bronze, 10V4 x 7% x 10 inches 
Gift of Benjamin Sonnenberg, 76.41 
Sacrifice, II, 1948/52 
Bronze, 49 'A X 33 X 22 inches 
Purchase, 52.27 

Bruno Lucchesi (b. 1926) 

Woman Undressing, 1964 

Bronze relief, 27% x 17% inches 

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. HaimShwisha, 65.91 

Marisol (b. 1930) 

Women and Dog, 1964 

Fur, leather, plaster, synthetic polymer, 
and wood, 72 x 82 x 16 inches 

Gift of the Friends of the Whitney Mu- 
seum of American Art, 64.17 

Robert Moir (b. 1917) 
Mother and Child, 1950 
Limestone, 22V4 x 13V2 x 10 inches 
Purchase, 52.18 

Elie Nadelman (1882- 1946) 
Draped Standing Female Figure, 1 908 
Marble, 22% x u x 8 inches 
Promised gift of an anonymous donor, 

Spring, c. 1911, cast 1966 
Bronze relief, 47 x 57 x 1V2 inches 
Gift of Charles Simon, 69.140 
Dancing Figure, 191 6- 18 
Bronze, 29V2 x 12 x 1 1V2 inches 
Promised gift of an anonymous donor, 


Reuben Nakian (b. 1897) 

The Lap Dog, 1927 

Terra-cotta, 6V2 x 5 x 10V2 inches 

Gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

Pastorale, 1950 

Terra-cotta, 15 x 20 x 9 inches 
Gift of the artist in memory of Juliana 

Force, 63.47 

Louise Nevelson (b. 1900) 

Moving— Static— Moving Figures, c. 1945 

Terra-cotta; two of fifteen individual 

pieces, sizes vary 
Gift of the artist, 69.159 

Isamu Noguchi (b. 1904) 

The Queen, 1931 

Terra-cotta, 45V2 x 16 x 16 inches 

Gift of the artist, 69.107 

Larry Rivers (b. 1923) 
Berdie Seated, Clothed, 19 s 3 
Bronze, 10 x 6V2 X 9% inches 
Lawrence H. Bloedel Bequest, 77.1.45 

Hugo Robus (1885- 1964) 
Despair, 1927 

Bronze, 12-V4 x 10 x 1 3 inches 
Purchase, 40.23 

Concetta Scaravaglione (1900- 1975) 
Group, 1935 

Mahogany, 24 V4 x 10V2 x 10 inches 
Purchase, 36.4 

( bet kits! 


George Segal (b. 1924) 

Walk, Don't Walk, 1976 

Plaster, cement, metal, paint, and electric 
light, 104 x 72 x 72 inches 

Gift of the Louis and Bessie Adler Founda- 
tion, Seymour M. Klein, President; the 
Gilman Foundation, Inc.; the Howard 
.\nd Jean Lipmati Foundation, Inc.; and 
the National Endowment for the Arts, 

Maurice Sterne (1878- 1957) 
The Bomb Thrower, 1910/14 
Bronze, 12 x 7V2 x 9V2 inches 
Bequest of Mrs. Sam A. Lewisohn, 54.51 

Harold Tovish (b. 1921) 
Vortex, 1966 

Bronze, 66 x 18 x 18 inches 
Gift of an anonymous donor (and pur- 
chase), 66.1 J2 

Ernest Trova (h. 1927) 

Study I ailing Man 1966, 1966 
Silicon bronze, 21 x 78V2 x 31 inches 
Gift of Howard and Jean Lipman, 67.12 

Stephan Von Huene (b. 19 \n 
Persistent Yet Unsuccessful Swordsman, 

Leather and wood, 28V2 x 6% x 6V2 

Gift of the Howard and Jean 1 ipman 

Foundation, Inc., 68.44 

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875— 

Fountain, 1913 

Bronze, 42 x 36 x 29 inches high 
Gift of the artist, u.78 

Mahonri M. Young [877 1957 

'gy, [92.6 
Bronze, 14V2 x 8V4 x 9V2 inches 
( .lit i>\ ( lertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 

William Zorach (1887-19 
Figure of .1 ( /'//</. 1921 
Mahogany, 14 x 5V2 x6'j inches 
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. I dward J. Kempt, 
70.6 1 

The Future Generation, 1942-47 
Botticinj marble, 40 x 19 x 14' 4 inches 
Purchase (and exchange), <; 1 . ^ 1 


Hyman Bloom (b. 19 13) 

The Anatomist, 1953 

Oil on canvas, 70V2 x 40V2 inches 

Purchase, 54.17 

Seymour Lipton (b. 1903) 

Sailor, [936 

Oak, 18 x 36 x 9 inches 

Gift of the artist, 79.80 

Paintings and Sculpture from the Permanent Collection